Bistec Encebollado

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This beef with onions combines skirt steak, caramelized onions, and of course, Salsa Lizano for a uniquely Costa Rican take on a popular Latin American recipe.

About This Recipe

This bistec encebollado recipe literally translates to steak and onions. While steak and onions is a popular dish throughout the world, this recipe has a twist by adding the uniquely Costa Rican Salsa Lizano. This is a very simple and tasty recipe beloved throughout Costa Rica.

This recipe is usually made at lunch, and is a frequent star of the Costa Rican casado. It is often also served in the evening, but with just white rice, black beans and salad.

This recipe is a staple in homes more than restaurants, so you might not always see it on menus. It never hurts to ask if it’s available, however, because since the ingredients are pretty simple sometimes it’s easy for a chef to whip up.

Steak in Costa Rica has a very different cut than the large steaks we eat in the US, so this recipe uses either skirt steak or flank steak cut into small steak-sized pieces. You ultimately want a thin cut of beef for this recipe.

The hallmark of this recipe is the sizzling of the pan when you put the steak in, and the delicious aroma of meat and Salsa Lizano coming together in perfect harmony. If a house is making this recipe you know it by the smell alone.

Related post: What Is Salsa Lizano From Costa Rica

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Bistect Encebollado Recipe – Costa Rica

Printable recipe below

Ingredients

  • skirt steak
  • Salsa Lizano
  • yellow onion
  • garlic cloves
  • vegetable oil

Instructions

Slice onions into rings. Crush garlic. I use frozen garlic cubes that can be found in the frozen vegetable aisle at Walmart and Trader Joe’s. The brand I most use is Dorot (see photo above).

In a medium skillet heat vegetable oil until just shimmering. Add onion, two tablespoons of Salsa Lizano and garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are just translucent.

Cut the skirt steak into pieces about three inches long and two inches wide. Rub the steaks with the other 2 tablespoons of Salsa Lizano. Place steak on top of the onions.

Cook on medium heat until desired doneness. I sometimes put the onions on top of the steak after a while to let the meat cook through all the way. (Traditional in Costa Rica is very well done, or chancleta as well call it because it’s done enough to be just like chewing a sandal).

Remove from heat, serve with white rice, black beans and a green salad.

Substitutions

You could use flank steak or cube steak in place of the skirt steak.

You can swap olive oil or other oil of your choice for the vegetable oil.

Variations

There aren’t a ton of variations on this recipe, but you could do either pounded or fileted chicken breasts in place of the steak. You could also try this with tofu too!

Related post: Costa Rican Chicken With Achiote

Serving Suggestions

Serve with white rice, black beans (or red beans), salad. This is a popular addition to the Costa Rican casado. Occasionally this dish will be served with gallo pinto.

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Yield: 4 servings

Costa Rican Bistec Encebollado- Beef with Onions

Costa Rican Bistec Encebollado- Beef with Onions

This beef with onions combines skirt steak, caramelized onions, and of course, Salsa Lizano for a uniquely Costa Rican take on a popular Latin American r

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 4 tablespoons salsa lizano (amazon)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed?
  • 3 tb vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Slice onions into rings. Crush garlic. I use frozen garlic cubes that can be found in the frozen vegetable aisle at Walmart and Trader Joe's. The brand I most use is Dorot.
  2. In a medium skillet heat vegetable oil until just shimmering. Add onion, two tablespoons of Salsa Lizano, and garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are just translucent.
  3. Cut the skirt steak into pieces about three inches long and two inches wide. Rub the steaks with the other 2 tablespoons of Salsa Lizano. Place steak on top of the onions.
  4. Cook on medium heat until the desired doneness. (Traditional in Costa rica is very well done, or chancleta as well call it because it's done enough to be just like chewing a sandal).
  5. Remove from heat, serve with white rice, black beans, and a green salad.

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Christa Jimenez

Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!

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