You may have heard of the name “beef enchiladas” before, but what about “beef encebollado”?
If you’re not familiar with this traditional Mexican dish, then you should be.
This is a simple yet flavorful dish made from cooked ground beef and served alongside tortillas.
In addition to being tasty, bistec encebollado also has health benefits.
In fact, it contains a lot of protein and healthy fats which help boost your immune system and keep your body strong.
What is the difference between bistec and bistec encebollado?
The word ‘bistec’ refers to a type of meat cut that comes from the shoulder of cow.
It can either be used as an ingredient in other dishes or eaten on its own.
The most common cuts of bistec are chorizo, carne de res (which is similar to flank steak), and chuck eye steak.
On the other hand, bistec encebollado is made from ground beef and usually served alongside tortillas.
Bistec encebollado is often cooked by frying or searing it over high heat.
There are two types of bistec encebollado recipes: one uses sliced onions while another doesn’t.
You will find them both in this article, so let’s take a look at both first.
The first recipe we’ll discuss includes sliced onions, but the second doesn’t.
The onion-free version calls for garlic powder instead of minced garlic.
The two versions are very different, so we’ll start with the onion-containing recipe before moving on to the onion-free version.
Why is bistec encebollado a popular dish in many Latin American countries?
While bistec encebollado is traditionally a Mexican dish, it can be found throughout Latin America.
It’s a favorite among people living in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.
The popularity of this dish comes down to its simplicity.
Unlike other meat dishes such as tacos or carne asada, bistec encebollado doesn’t require too much effort or time to prepare.
Instead of having to spend hours on end cooking and marinating the meat, all you need to do is cook some ground beef and add a few spices.
Another reason why bistec encebollado is so popular is because it’s cheap.
You don’t need to fork out any money for expensive cuts of meat.
The ground beef used in this dish is very affordable and can easily last for a long time if stored properly.
What are the main ingredients in a bistec encebollado recipe?
To create this delicious dish, you need some good quality ground beef, fresh onion, and cilantro.
You can add other spices such as garlic or chili powder if you prefer, but these three ingredients are the core of any bistec encebollado recipe.
The ground beef is usually browned first so it doesn’t dry out while cooking.
Then, it’s combined with the onions and cilantro along with water and salt.
After everything is mixed together, it’s allowed to cook until the meat starts to fall apart.
Afterwards, it’s served with corn tortillas and topped with cheese, sour cream, and chopped tomatoes.
The dish gets its name from the word encebollar (meaning “to roll up”) because the tortilla wraps around the mixture like a taco shell.
This isn’t just a dish to eat at home. It’s often served at parties and gatherings, even on special occasions like birthdays and holidays.
While there are different variations of bistec encebollado recipes throughout Mexico, the base is always the same.
So, next time you want to try something new, here are the main ingredients that will make this dish unique.
How do you make bistec encebollado?
To prepare bistec encebollado, we start by marinating the meat in a mixture of oil, salt, garlic, onion, chile powder, cumin, oregano, and lime juice.
Then, we cook it in a pressure cooker until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 Celsius).
Afterward, we remove the meat from the pot and shred it.
Next, we add tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and onions to our shredded meat and mix everything together.
Lastly, we roll up the filling into a tortilla and serve it.
The best part of bistec encebollado is that you can customize the recipe according to your preferences.
You can substitute the meat for chicken or shrimp if you prefer, or swap out the vegetables for different types of peppers or even mushrooms.
Let’s take a closer look at how to make bistec encebollado so you can decide whether it’s right for you.
1 pound of bistec (you can use any kind of beef you want)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons of butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 ounces of sliced onions
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup of water
1 tablespoon of chili powder
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet until hot.
Add the beef and season with salt and pepper.
Cook until browned on all sides.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in same pan and add the garlic and onions.
Sauté until soft.
Season with salt and pepper.
Return the beef to the pan and mix well.
Stir in the flour, cayenne pepper, and water.
Bring mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese.
Cover and let melt for 5 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips.
What is the history of bistec encebollado?
The word “encebollada” means “chopped up” or “chopped off” in Spanish.
This dish is usually made by sautéing meat in oil until browned on both sides, followed by adding chopped vegetables and seasonings such as onion, garlic, and cilantro.
After cooking, the mixture is shredded and served alongside flour tortillas.
Although there are slight variations in how this dish is prepared throughout Mexico, the most common way to prepare it is to mix together cooked ground beef, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, cumin, coriander seeds, salt, black pepper, and oregano.
A few hours later, the mixture is shredded and served in warm corn tortillas.
This dish was originally created by the indigenous people living in Mexico.
However, when the Spanish colonized the country, they brought their own recipes and added them to the dishes of the native Mexicans.
The reason why the dish became so popular during the 20th century is because it was one of the first Mexican foods available to non-Mexicans due to its ease of preparation and taste.
Although the dish wasn’t always popular outside of Mexico, it eventually began to spread around the world.
How did bistec encebollado become a popular dish?
The origin story behind bistec encebollado dates back to the 16th century when Hernán Cortés brought his conquistador army to Mexico in search of gold.
Because they were unfamiliar with the native people, Cortés’ soldiers took their time to learn the language and customs of the Aztecs.
As a result, many of the food traditions of pre-Hispanic Mexico survived into the modern era.
One of these foods was bistec encebollado (or “enchilada de bistec,” as it’s known in Spanish).
It’s a dish that combines several different flavors and textures, so it makes sense that it would become an integral part of the Mexican diet.
While bistec encebollado may seem like just another taco or burrito on the menu, it’s actually a very special dish that deserves its own place in the culinary world.
Learn how to prepare bistec encebollado below!
What are some of the variations of bistec encebollado?
The name of this dish comes from its preparation process.
The word “encebollado” means “chopped up” and refers to how the meat is chopped into small pieces before cooking.
This dish can also be known as “enchilada de bistec” or “ground beef enchiladas.”
As you might expect, there are different ways to prepare bistec encebollado.
Some chefs prefer to use only fresh ingredients while others prefer to use frozen ones instead.
You can also cook the beef in advance if you want to save time.
Another thing that varies depending on where you live is how much chili powder you add.
For example, people who live in the southern US will usually add more chili powder than those living in the northern part of Mexico.
Here are some of the most common variations of bistec encebollado:
Beef encebollado (original recipe)
Beef encebollado con chile verde (green chili)
Beef encebollado con salsa roja (red sauce)
Beef encebollado con frijoles negros (black beans)
Beef encebollado con frijol negro (black bean)
Beef encebollado con cebolla y zanahoria (onion, carrot)
Beef encebollado con espinacas (spinach)
Beef encebollado con guacamole
What are some tips for making bistec encebollado?
There are many different ways to prepare this dish, so there isn’t one specific way to do it.
That said, here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your bistec encebollado.
Make sure that your meat is well-seasoned
You can use any kind of seasoning that you like, but always ensure that it’s at least salty, spicy, and sweet.
Use quality ingredients
If you want to get the best results when preparing this recipe, then you need to use high-quality meats and fresh vegetables.
Cook your meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 145˚F (63˚C)
For this type of recipe, it’s important that you don’t overcook your meat because it will become tough and dry.
Serve bistec encebollado warm or cold
- 1 Skillet
- 1 pound beef
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 8 ounces onions sliced
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- Tortilla chips
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet until hot.
- Add the beef and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until browned on all sides.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in same pan and add the garlic and onions.
- Sauté until soft.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Return the beef to the pan and mix well.
- Stir in the flour, cayenne pepper, and water.
- Bring mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese.
- Cover and let melt for 5 minutes.
- Serve with tortilla chips.