Recipe: Bistec de Palomilla, a Cuban Favorite

Good Morning, everyone!

This week has been exciting in terms of the different Spanish foods I’ve made for my family to try. I have had so much fun bringing the authentic flavors of Mexico, Cuba and Spain into my home. I’m sure I’ve gained at least 5 pounds with all I’ve eaten over this past week – plus, Amber made me a chocolate chip cheesecake and you can believe I ate probably 3/4 of the thing. So, so bad. But it tastes so, so good!


Today, I want to journey to Cuba with you for a few moments. Picture it: beautiful palm trees swaying in the warm breeze, mountainous terrain, smells of savory spices and meats wafting your way and pulling you in toward the direction of each and every open window in sight.

Ahh, Cuban food. It’s hugely popular in South Florida where I live. The first time I tried it, it was truly like Heaven in my mouth. Since then, I have developed my own variations of popular Cuban recipes that are nearly spot on with the authentic flavors of Cuban cuisine. If you’ve never tried it, today is your lucky day because I am going to enlighten you on a very popular, incredibly flavorful dish that is fairly easy to prepare in about 30 minutes.

Today, I want to share my recipe for Bistec de Palomilla with you. I developed this variation of my own Bistec recipe from many years’ worth of trying and testing different Bistec recipes. This recipe is of Cuban origin, and is quite popular in South Florida Cuban Cafeterias. The steak (bistec) is usually served with grilled/sauteed onions with a side of white rice and black beans. Not only am I going to give you my recipe for perfect, autentico Bistec, but you will also be let in on a little secret that literally took me years of practice to perfect: my rice. I’ve shared this recipe before on a cooking and chef community I’m a part of, and those who’ve tried it can’t deny the flavors are so absolutely amazing!I’ve gained the seal of approval from several Cuban women who read over my recipe and reviewed through trying it on their own.

Bistec de Palomilla




1 Hr


45 Min



4 slices round thin steak, on the larger side
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp lime juice, either fresh squeezed or from a bottle
1 tsp Goya Adobo seasoning powder
1 dash(es) garlic powder per side of steak
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
4 Tbsp butter


2 C long grain white rice, rinsed in a mesh colander
1/4 canola oil
1 tsp table salt
3 C fresh water

1 can(s) Goya Frijoles Negros (black bean soup) — I will share my recipe for perfect homemade black beans in another post; today, we are taking the easy route!


1. Remove the steak from the packaging and place onto a plate. Sprinkle with adobo seasoning, black pepper, a little garlic powder, and lime juice on both sides. Rub the minced garlic into the steak with all of the seasonings, and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour in the fridge.
2. In a pot with a tight fitting lid, bring the water to a boil. Add salt before boiling.
3.In a heavy bottomed skillet, add canola oil to the pan and allow the pan to heat on medium high heat. Rinse the rice in a mesh colander, to remove all of the starch from the rice. This step is very important! The rinsing of the rice makes all the difference. From there, you will add the rice to the hot oil in the skillet. Fry the rice over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Rice is ready to add to boiling water when it becomes clumpy. Add rice to boiling water, and stir once. Cover the pot, and turn the heat down to 4 or low/simmer. Allow the rice to simmer/steam, uninterrupted, for 25-30 minutes. Do NOT remove the lid from the pot, or else the steam which is necessary to cook the rice will escape and you will end up with hard rice.

4. After about 15 or so minutes of the rice cooking, you can feel free to begin the next step. Slice the onion very thinly and add two tablespoons of butter to a heavy bottomed skillet. Over medium heat, allow the pan to heat up and the butter to melt. Add the onion, add a dash of salt and pepper, and saute, caramelizing the onions. This should take 7-9 minutes or so. Remove from the pan, and place on a plate or in a bowl for the time being.

5. Add two tablespoons of butter to the same skillet. Allow to heat up and melt nicely over medium high heat. Remove meat from the refrigerator, and add to the pan – avoiding overcrowding the meat. If you need to cook in batches, feel free. You will want to sear the steak on both sides, which is why we are using medium high heat here. You don’t want to overcook the steak as it will become tough and hard to cut and chew. Cook about 2-3 minutes per side, and remove from the pan to a plate.

6. Heat up a can of black bean soup in a small sauce pan. This will be served over the rice. Add a bit of water to thin out the sauce, and let it cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until heated through and beans are softened. Or, you could microwave the beans in a microwave safe bowl. Once the rice is finished, this will be served over the top.

7. Once rice is finished, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Allow the lid to sit off of the rice for about 5 minutes to allow excess steam to escape. Turn heat off, and remove pan from the burner. Serve the rice with a hearty scoop of black beans and sauce over the rice, and add a slice of steak with the caremlized onions on top. If you’d like, you can add some more lime juice to the steak once you plate it up for a truly authentic flavor. The more lime, the better when it comes to this recipe! The citrus really sets off the flavor of the garlic in this recipe.


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