I was given a timely nudge to post Bistec de Palomilla or Bistec de la Plancha (to me, they’re the same thing) when a friend of mine on Google+, Ally Philips, recently posted a Slow Cooked Cuban Skirt Steak recipe, full of all the flavours I love! It reminded me that I have quite a few Latin American recipes in my arsenal, courtesy of an Ecuadorian friend, Maria, whose maiden name is Castro, and, would you believe, is closely related to the infamous Fidel! Or so she claims – no, no, seriously – I’ve seen pictures!
Incidentally, Ally’s cookbook, Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates, is available for pre order on Amazon here.
Back to Maria and today’s recipe, she and I used to be fairly close friends, her boys are the same age as mine but as it happens, over the years, we seem to have drifted apart and only meet up a couple of times a year, despite living just 5 minutes from each other! This Bistec de Palomilla was one of the first recipes I learnt from her, a very traditional Cuban recipe, very easy to prepare and full of flavours!
You need the right cut, the palomilla, which is the top sirloin, and very thin, no more than a quarter of an inch thick. That is the cut I always get when making this and I pound it to thin it out as well as tenderise it further. Another fairly common practice by Cuban expats, I’ve been told, is to cut the meat up into little strips and stirfrying them after the onions. I quite like it this way too. Cuban expats because no one does it like that in Cuba – apparently!
Bistec de Palomilla is traditionally eaten with rice and fried plantains but goes just as equally well with chips (french fries) and sautéed new potatoes and a side salad.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
4 very thin sirloin steaks
8 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
6 tbsp lime juice ( about 3-4 limes)
2 tbsp olive oil (for marinade)
quarter tsp salt
1 small handful fresh parsley
2 large white onions, sliced
olive oil for frying, as needed
freshly ground black pepper
lime slices for garnish
1. Combine the garlic, lime juice, olive oil, half tsp salt and most of the parsley in a bowl and mix thoroughly. This is the marinade. Keep about a tbsp of the parsley for garnish.
2. Place the steaks in a large, shallow glass dish and pour half the marinade over the steaks and rub it in well.
3. Top the steaks with the onions and pour the rest of the marinade all over the onions, mixing it in slightly but leave the onions resting on top of the steaks.
4. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for a couple of hours at least, to marinate. I usually do this in the morning and leave it to marinate until dinner time. You could even do this overnight.
5. When you’re ready to cook, heat a large frying pan on medium high and oil it lightly.
6. Lift the steaks out of the marinade, brushing off any onion slices and sear the steaks, two at a time, about 2 minutes on each side for medium. Transfer the cooked steaks onto a warm plate and keep warm.
7. Wipe the frying pan with a paper towel and put it back on the heat.
8. Add the marinade and all of the onions into the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on how brown you like your onions.
9. Dish out your cooked steaks onto serving plates and divide the onions equally amongst them, on top.
Serve with some lime and as described above, with some rice, a green salad and some potatoes.
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