Papa’s Mexican Steak

Papa’s Mexican Steak

Sometimes in your life you meet an amazing person online… I have met many amazing people, through creative interests and foodie interests. I met Carla several years ago in a foodie group and we just really clicked as friends. She is both crafty and a foodie. Over the years we have traded recipes back and forth as we shared our excitement of yummy food. A month or so ago she shared the recipe for her dad’s Mexican steak – Papa’s Mexican Steak (Papa Carlton “Johnny” Wade) I have made it a couple of times already in the month since (and am making a double batch this weekend for the freezer), it’s that good! It’s a deliciously spiced stewed beef dish that we eat with cilantro lime rice and homemade buttery tortillas. Really, though, you can enjoy it with any of your favorite Mexican side dishes, but the homemade tortillas are just the bomb for soaking up all the lovely sauce.

Papa's Mexican Steak

Papa’s Mexican steak goes together very quickly and easily. It’s great for a weekend or a weeknight (if you use a pressure cooker) and is sooo filling. It’s similar to a Chile Colorado, but also different. With Chile Colorado you cook and blend dried chiles and blend them with jalapenos and onions for a smooth sauce. With the Papa’s Mexican Steak it’s all spices and chopped onions and peppers (see options for my add ins) for a beautiful veggie filled dish, which I love – quick and easy peasy. Papa’s Mexican Steak actually reminds me quite a bit of a dish we have had at a local place called “Plato Ranchero” or “Bistec Ranchero”… SOOOOO goood! I love being able to make it at home! Just a few simple ingredients make the most warming and delicious dinner.

You only need a big dutch oven (I’m using a 7 quart Tramontina do) and few ingredients:

  • Beef: Rib Eye, Chuck or Round steak
  • Onion
  • Bell Peppers
  • Garlic cloves
  • Yellow Chili (or Hatch/Anaheim chiles)
  • Herdez Salsa Casera (mild or medium) Or 3 -7oz oz cans Herdez Salsa
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Onion Powder
  • Mexican Oregano
  • Knorr Chicken Bouillon (or fave bouillon)

When we make Papa’s Mexican Steak we usually sear the cubed beef up in my big enameled dutch oven, but recently I have started cooking it in larger batches on our flat top griddle (I’m using a Members Mark brand griddle here but a Blackstone works, too) outside. I love that it all cooks up so quickly and doesn’t make a mess of the kitchen. Once the meat is all seared, I toss it in a bowl and then proceed with the recipe as normal in my dutch oven.

If you haven’t already chopped your veggies, chop them up while your meat is cooking. Don’t fuss too much, chop them up into roughly 1/2″ squares. Use whatever color peppers you like. (We prefer all but green these days.)

Once the meat is all cooked I add the veggies to the pot and cook them down a bit. Once they are all soft and fragrant I add the flour and spices and give it all a good stir.

Optional, and this is something I have just recently started doing because we love a little heat in our food, I like to add some chopped roasted Hatch (Anaheim) chiles. Simply roast a couple Anaheim chiles, put in a bag or container with a lid, let them sit for a bit to steam, then remove the skin and seeds and chop. Adjust according to the amount of heat you like.

Once your veggies, meat, and seasonings are all combined add in a jar of Herdez Salsa Casera. Add water or broth if needed. Because I live high in the sky and it’s very dry up here I add about 2-3 cups of water. The first time I made Papa’s Mexican Steak I did not add liquid and it was quite thick after cooking for several hours. You can adjust the liquid as needed and/or leave the lid off if you need to reduce the liquid more. Bring everything up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, put the cover on and let it go for a few hours. I usually simmer my Papa’s Mexican Steak for about 3 hours or so. The larger your pieces of meat are the longer it will take to cook and get tender. If you lose too much liquid along the way feel free to add more as needed.

After a few hours your sauce will go from loose to a beautiful thick, rich, dark sauce.

While your Papa’s Mexican Steak is cooking go ahead and make some homemade flour tortillas and some cilantro lime rice. I usually make my Cilantro Lime Rice in the Instant Pot about 30 minutes before I plan on taking the Papa’s Mexican Steak off the burner.

When everything is ready to go, serve it up in a bowl with a big spoon! You can eat it with rice. You can serve it up as a bowl of “chili” with some fresh tortillas. Or serve it alongside a big helping of cilantro lime rice or your favorite Mexican rice.

… as a bowl of “chili” with tortillas …

… with cilantro lime rice and tortillas …

I really hope you give this recipe a try! We have made it three times in May alone, and one time was a double batch (on the griddle) so I could have some freezer stash meals. This recipe is so easy to pull together and is also super easy to adapt to your family’s preferences.

Thank you, Carla, for a new favorite recipe!

Edit: I have not made this in the Instant Pot yet… but when I do I will probably add only maybe 1/2 C water or broth… if any. There is very little to no evaporation with the IP. I will also let it naturally depressurize completely before opening the lid.

Papa's Mexican Steak

Papa’s Mexican Steak (from Papa “Johnny” Carlton Wade)

Tender pieces of beef stewed in a beautiful combination of Mexican spices.
5 from 1 vote
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8


  • 2-3 lbs Rib Eye, Chuck or Round steak, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 ea Onion, cut into small pieces, not diced tiny
  • 1 – 2 ea Bell Peppers (Red + Green), cut into small pieces, not diced tiny
  • 2 ea Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ea Yellow Chili, chopped
  • 24 oz Herdez Salsa Casera (mild or medium) Or 3 -7oz oz cans Herdez Salsa
  • 4 Tbs Chili Powder
  • 2 Tbs Cumin
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 1 – 3 Tbs Knorr Chicken Bouillon (or fave bouillon)

Optional (not included in Papa's original recipe):

  • 2 ea Hatch Green Chiles (anaheims), roasted and chopped
  • 1 – 2 tsp Red Anaheim Chile Powder (adds some heat)
  • 1/2 -1 ea Jalapeno, diced


  • Cut the meat into 1 inch pieces and season with all the spices.  Saute over medium heat until just browned.  Papa used lard but you can use any kind of cooking oil.
  • Remove from skillet and add veggies and garlic. Saute until soft. Add the meat back into the skillet.
  • Sprinkle the meat and veggies with ⅓ cup of flour, mix well and stir for a few minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the Herdez salsa, Add 1-2 cups of water (see notes) just to loosen it up and cover the mixture. Mix well and bring to a slight boil.
  • After it begins to boil turn it down to low,cover the pan and let it simmer for about 3 hours until tender. I've simmered mine for up to 5 hours.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • I have not made this in the Instant Pot yet… but when I do I will probably add only maybe 1/2 C water or broth… if any. There is very little to no evaporation with the IP. I will also let it naturally depressurize completely before opening.
    I will edit this when I make it in the IP and update instructions.


At high altitude you will likely need to add more liquid (water or broth).  The first time I made this I had to add more liquid because it’s so dry up here at 6,300 ft and evaporated quickly. 
I like to add additional chiles to our Papa’s Mexican Steak and a little red Anaheim chile powder to kick up the heat a little.
Enjoy with my Cilantro Lime Rice!
Keyword Beef Dishes, Main Dishes, Mexican

2 thoughts on “Papa’s Mexican Steak

  1. 5 stars
    I’m so tickled and glad that you love the recipe! It’s been a family favorite for years! I still think that my Papa’s is better than mine but I get close. Beautiful food pictures!

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