Bistec Encebollado (Smothered Beef)

This is a popular dish in Panama, you’ll often see it served for breakfast with a fried egg–then it becomes Bistec a Caballo. Caballo is a horse and I have NO idea why the mention of a horse is necessary, but I don’t make up the names, I just eat the food.

The beef used for this is  a cheap cut, no fancy meats and it is then drizzled with pan juices. For breakfast, this will be accompanied by hojaldas or tortillas, otherwise, white rice and tajadas are the right companions.

I’ve improved the dish by cooking the beef a to medium rare and because The Hubbz needs a bit of gravy/sauce, I added pureed tomatoes to maximize the pan juices. This is not a recipe, there’s no need for one, what I’m offering is a step-by-step guide. Adjust as necessary.

Bistec Encebollado

You will need:
About 1 lb beef round tip
Sea salt
Black pepper
Crushed garlic
Olive oil
Fresh tomatoes
Crushed tomatoes

I used slices of round tip, about 1 lb of filets 1/2-inch thick. I took a mallet to them to make the slices uniform and to tenderize it a bit. I ended up with slices that were about 1/4-inch thick and cut them into medallions that were about the size of my palm.

Season with salt, black pepper, crushed garlic, oregano and olive oil. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Slice 2-3 medium onions, if you like onions, you can’t have too many. Slice them into rings about 1/4-inch thick. You will also need 1/2 a red bell pepper diced. Substitute with green pepper if you can’t get your hands on red or skip it all together. Remove the seeds from a Roma tomatoes and dice finely.

In a large skillet, heat about 3 tbsp of olive oil and add the onions, cooking them until they start to become translucent, then add the bell peppers. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes and 1-2 tsps of white vinegar. Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Allow the oil to drain, remove from the skillet.

Heat the skillet and oil, brown the medallions in batches. Make sure not to crowd them or you’ll end up boiling them instead of searing. Cook them to the desired doneness, remove and keep warm until all the beef is browned.

Return the onion mixture to the skillet, add a bit of liquid (wine, sherry, beer, stock, water) to loosen the bits before adding about 1 cp of crushed tomatoes. Adjust seasoning, allow it to cook for about 3 minutes, then add the slices of beef turning them into the sauce. Turn off the heat.

Serve with rice and tajadas.


Cookingly yours,

6 thoughts on “Bistec Encebollado (Smothered Beef)

  1. gitanorumano says:

    This is what we call “Smothered Steak” here in the South. The olny difference being we here in the states flour the steak before frying it. If serving it for breakfast then there would be a plate of biscuits, eggs, and grits to go with it.

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