There are some dishes that are more special than others because they’re tied to memories and traditions. They just take you back to a place and put you back in moments that you wish you could replay over and over again. Now while I love to cook and I love to eat even more, there are some dishes that just stop me dead in my tracks. They may not be the prettiest or complex of dishes, but they are dishes that are near and dear to my heart. These dishes are usually dishes that my grandmother made in HEAVY rotation. They’re nostalgic and permanent fixtures in my heart.
Bistec Encebollado is definitely one of the dishes that defined my childhood. I remember asking my grandmother- Mama what’s for dinner and she’d reply, “Arroz, Habichuela, y Carne.” That meant that carne was either going to bistec encebollado or carne guisado. And honestly, the two are practically identical except for the cut of meat. Even though Bistec Encebollado means Steak with Stewed Onions, my grandmother would throw some red and green pepper thus turning it into a Pepper Steak. Both are delicious and both will undoubtedly make me cry because no matter how many days pass one thing is for certain– I miss my grandmother.
I enjoy making traditional Hispanic dishes and comfort foods because it brings me back to days when my grandmother was alive. I live for the nostalgia that certain dishes bring. No matter how hard I try and no matter what my family says, I can’t make these dishes the same way that my grandmother does. My family insists that I’ve cracked the code, but I know differently. There are some dishes that come dangerously close, but I refuse to believe that I’ve recreated her masterpieces. Accepting that would mean replacing her and that’s not possible. Granted my logic may be flawed and simply nonsense but it’s how I think in relation to this topic. Everyone has their superstar dishes that becomes your staple. There are dishes that your kids just love. I’m curious to know which one of my dishes my future kids and grandkids will latch onto. It’s fun to wonder.
- 2lbs Beef Round Steak- thin
- ½ white onion finely minced
- ¼ cubanelle pepper minced
- 2 ajicitos finely minced
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp sopita or adobo *to taste
- 1 -2 tbs salsa china(lite sodium soy sauce) *to taste
- 1 tsp DR orégano
- ½ tbs sazón
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cilantro chopped
- 1 lime
- 1 whole Golden onion sliced in rings
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 cup Water
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Finely dice onions, peppers, and garlic -- set aside
- Slice golden or white onion into rings. Then place into bowl with 1tsp of vinegar. Set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, season beef with diced cubanelle peppers, onions, garlic, ajicitos, adobo, salsa china (lite sodium soy sauce), Dominican orégano, sazón, black pepper, lime, recao, and olive oil
- Mix together until well combined and let marinate for 30mins or even overnight
- In a skillet, heat up canola oil until nice and hot. Use medium heat.
- Add beef making sure to brown on each side. Browning should take about 5-10 mins. Be sure to flip over the beef.
- Afterwards, add water. I like to add water the mixing bowl first to capture all of the marinade flavor and then add to the beef in skillet
- Braise beef for 30-40mins. Add more water if necessary. You want beef to be nice and tender
- Once the sauce has reduced add in onions at the end
- Saute onions and beef until onions reach your desired softness
I like to keep my onions on the crunchy side so I only sautee them for about 3 minutes. Sometimes, I’ll even turn off the stove after I add in the onions and then cover the dish with a lid. The trapped steam will soften the onions after about 20 mins. Enjoy!