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Hilachas Guatemaltecas

Hilachas de Carne ~ Beef Stew

Mike Gonzalez
Hilachas is a dish originating in Guatemalan cuisine that is similar to ropa vieja. The secret is in the sauce when it comes to this dish. It’s velvety, lightly spiced, and full of flavor. Pair it with a side of rice and fresh corn tortillas or white tamales for a full meal.
Prep Time 1 hr 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Guatemalan
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 lbs beef flank steak or skirt steak cubed
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup tomatillo chopped
  • 2 guajillo chilies warmed over a flame, deseeded and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb potato peeled and chopped
  • ½ lb green beans
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped


  • Place the beef, water and a big pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the beef is very tender.
    2 lbs beef flank steak or skirt steak, 5 cups water, salt and pepper
  • Remove the beef to a bowl, reserving the broth, and set aside to cool
  • When cool enough to handle, shred the beef with your fingers and set aside.
  • While the beef is simmering, place the onion, tomatoes, tomatillos and chiles in a food processor or blender and puree, adding a little water if necessary.
    1 onion, 1 cup tomatoes, 1 cup tomatillo, 2 guajillo chilies
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add the onion-tomato puree and simmer until the puree is cooked down and darkens somewhat in color, about 10 minutes. Do not burn.
    2 tbsp oil
  • Add the shredded beef and about 3 cups of the broth to the onion-tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the potatoes, green beans, onions, and a little more broth or water if necessary. Simmer until the potatoes and green beans are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
    1 lb potato, ½ lb green beans, 1 onion
  • Stir in the breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce.
    ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • Then stir in the chopped cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve hot with corn tortillas or rice.
    1 bunch cilantro
Keyword shreaded beef