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Latin-Spiced Rib Eye with Sautéed Onions and Cilantro

Known as bistec encebollado throughout the Caribbean, this dish is particularly popular in Puerto Rico. Since the meat cooks so quickly, it's best to use a tender cut, like rib eye or strip steak; filet mignon works too, if you feel like splurging. To save time, have your butcher cut the steak and pound it.

slideshow Amazing Steak Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced and smashed to a puree
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet onions, such as Maui or Spanish sweets, sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 pounds rib eye steak or 1 pound New York strip or tenderloin, cut into 8 pieces and pounded 1/3 inch thick
  • 1 cup beef stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, oregano and garlic and onion powders, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Season the steaks on both sides with the spice mixture and rub them with the garlic puree.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add 4 of the steaks and cook over high heat until browned, 1 minute per side; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and meat.
  3. Reduce the heat to moderate and add the onions to the skillet, stirring until coated with oil. Cover and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer the onions to a shallow bowl and cover with foil.
  4. Add the stock to the skillet and simmer over moderately high heat for 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the vinegar and butter and cook until the butter is completely melted and blended into the sauce.
  5. Return the meat, any accumulated juices and the onions to the skillet and turn to coat and heat through. Transfer to plates, top with the cilantro and serve.

Make Ahead

The beef can marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking.

Serve With

Crispy fried potatoes.

Suggested Pairing

Since this dish is a bit tricky to match with wine—the meat calls for a tannic, dry red while the onions need something sweet—opt for a California Merlot from Monterey County. It has the sweet fruit, tremendous brightness and tannic astringency to balance all the flavors here.

Contributed By Published October 2003

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