Tax Relief: Bistec a lo Pobre (Poor Man’s Steak)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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They say that there are only two things that are certain in this world: death and taxes. Neither of these are appealing options for most people, but if pressed, I’d have to choose taxes as the lesser evil. Since today is tax day here in the United States, I thought I’d send you all a little edible tax relief.
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We here in SGCCland are huge fans of South American cuisine, particularly Peruvian food. We’re lucky to have several excellent Peruvian restaurants in town. There isn’t one damn place to get decent dim sum, but Peruvian restaurants abound! One of our favorites is called Red. They have a dish on their menu called Bistec a lo Pobre. It consists of a seasoned, seared steak accompanied by fried potatoes and sauteed onions, and topped with a fried egg. It is Mr. SGCC’s favorite favorite thing to order there. I have to agree with him. It is really good!
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Bistec a lo Pobre literally translates to “steak of the poor”. I’m not sure why, though. With those ingredients, this dish is anything but. To me, that big slab of beef all covered with gooey, eggy goodness is definitely something I’d categorize as rich. In my research, I found that this dish is a staple in other South American countries as well, particularly in Chile, Argentina and Ecuador, each having its own unique spin on it. The Ecuadorian version, for example, also includes fresh tomatoes fried with the onions and potatoes.

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The bistec in this dish is traditionally a sirloin steak. Red slices it into thin, almost cutlet-style pieces. This means that the meat ends up being on the well-done side. While the onions are pan fried, the potatoes are actually french fries. We like our beef practically mooing, so I asked my butcher to slice the beef into one-half inch thick steaks. I didn’t want to mess with deep frying, so I opted to cut the potatoes into thin slices and pan fry them with the onions. I used Yukon Gold potatoes as I learned that they most closely resemble a popular variety of yellow potato indigenous to Peru. I seasoned the steaks with salt, pepper, garlic and a little cumin and smoked paprika. I sprinkled a packet of Sazon into the onions and potatoes, but that was just me. It certainly isn’t necessary to the dish. I probably will leave it out the next time I make this.

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The most difficult part of preparing this dish is the timing, so that all of the components are ready at the same time. I cooked the potatoes and onions first and set them aside on a serving platter while I seared the steaks, which only took about five minutes. Then, I fried the eggs. You will have to keep the meat, potatoes and onions warm somehow while doing this. I stuck the platter in a warm oven, but my steak ended up cooking a little more than I would have liked.
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My Bistec a lo Pobre was a smashing success! We all loved it. Even Mini-SGCC, who never touches beef, ate it! The flavors earthy and aromatic. Those fried eggs oozing over everything just pulled it all together. It was pretty nearly heaven on a plate! I actually liked it better than the restaurant version.

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So now, to commemorate the day in which many Americans will reluctantly part with significant amounts of their hard-earned cash, I offer you some Bistec a lo Pobre or poor man’s steak. I figure that some of you may need it!


*Note: I am not Peruvian, nor do I profess to be an expert in Peruvian cuisine. I have adapted this recipe based on the version that I have personally eaten and prepared it according to my personal tastes. I make no claims as to the authenticity of this recipe. In fact, I am TELLING you that mine is not the traditional method of preparation. Please do not write and tell me that I am an idiot and know nothing. I view cooking as a CREATIVE process. I am the Queen of my kitchen and I can cook however I f*cking well please.
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30 responses to Tax Relief: Bistec a lo Pobre (Poor Man’s Steak)

  1. On April 15, 2008 at 11:11am, Manggy said...

    Whoa!!! An oxymoron if I ever saw one :) That is just so decadent, haha! Love the beautiful caramelization on the steaks.

    Here in the Philippines, “Steak a la Pobre” is something else entirely– any cut of beef pan-fried in garlicky olive oil and piles of sauteed crispy minced garlic on top.

    (The note sounds like it was provoked… Someone bugging you Susan? Let’s rough ‘em up!!)

  2. On April 15, 2008 at 12:28pm, Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

    That sounds so good. I love the simplicity of all of the flavors!

  3. On April 15, 2008 at 1:33pm, Patsyk said...

    That sounds really good! And, I agree, cooking is a creative process and how you make something is entirely up to the person doing it… everyone has a different idea on how to make each dish.

  4. On April 15, 2008 at 1:43pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Manggy- Lol! It is an oxymoron, isn’t it? Glad you like it, though. Your bistec sounds pretty good too.

    The note was provoked. Someone left a very mean-spirited and nasty comment for me on my last post. It was meant for her and no one else. :)

    Judy- Thanks! It is a really good and simple dish.

    Patsy- Thanks! Diversity is what makes this so much fun. If we all did everything the same way, it would be quite a yawn!

  5. On April 15, 2008 at 5:27pm, Aran said...

    Oh goodness… de pobre nada! That looks so good… I can see myself breaking the yolk and it making a sauce with the beef jus… oh lordy!

  6. On April 15, 2008 at 7:08pm, Lina said...

    Looks like a hearty meal. My husband is looking over at the computer screen drooling. haha. he loves his meat!

  7. On April 15, 2008 at 7:48pm, Kevin said...

    That looks like a great meal! I keep hearing about steak and eggs but I have never actually tried having an egg on my steak. It sounds good though.

  8. On April 15, 2008 at 8:27pm, Gretchen Noelle said...

    Susan – Yeah! Bistec a lo Pobre! Delicious! I have only made it once upon request and I will totally agree about the timing thing! I had to fry the steaks, the eggs and the bananas all in two pans and try to keep everything hot all the while. This looks delicious. Yeah for Peruvian Food!!!

  9. On April 15, 2008 at 9:04pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Aran- The yolk is the best part! I like to mix it all up with the potatoes too! :)

    Lina- Lol! I call my husband “the caveman”. He has to have his meat too!

    Kevin- Thanks! Steak and eggs is a great combo. I had fish and eggs when I was in Barbados. It was great too!

    Gretchen- I’m glad you like it! I told you I love Peruvian food! I make a mean churasco with chimichurri too!

  10. On April 15, 2008 at 9:05pm, okmosa said...

    I’m in loooove with that gorgeous serving plate! Care to share it’s provenance? I’ve been searching for so long!

  11. On April 15, 2008 at 9:15pm, RecipeGirl said...

    Ok, those are definitely two things I would never in a million years put together- steak with an egg on top. The thought of ordering steak & eggs for breakfast always kind of grossed me out, but for dinner this actually looks very appetizing!!

    Let me just say that I HATE taxes with a passion. Everything about them. Because we have our own business, the damn taxes are never ending!!! Done.

  12. On April 15, 2008 at 10:19pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Okmosa- I found that platter at Macy’s about 6 months ago. If you don’t have one near you, you could look online. They had a whole collection of things with the same pattern. I got some matching soup bowls too.

    RecipeGirl- I’m telling you, this is really delicious! Of course, I love eggs with almost anything, even fish.

    Don’t even get me started about taxes! We have our own business too and I know exactly how you feel. It is unconscionable!

  13. On April 15, 2008 at 10:23pm, michelle @ TNS said...

    whoa! my ribs feel something sticking to them just looking at that picture. steak? eggs? potatoes? onions? i’m pretty sure that’s all the major food groups right there, except for maybe chocolate.

    i usually use eggs for a light supper…this opens up a whole new world of egg consumption.

  14. On April 16, 2008 at 2:26am, Mochachocolata Rita said...

    ^_^ i am sooo glad to be in hong kong…the government announced tax relief a few months back! yayyyyy…hmmm the bistec combo sounds like a luxury to me…well maybe beef meat and all the other ingredients needed grow off the ground in the country of origin…but to eat such a meal here in hong kong nowadays…boy..we really needed that tax relief ^_^’

  15. On April 16, 2008 at 5:58am, Peter M said...

    Who would call you and F-ing idiot? I never got the impression of this blog being asinine.

    So, we have an exotic take on Steak & eggs…I’m in!

    OK, spill it…what’s this Sazon seasoning all about…never heard of it before.

  16. On April 16, 2008 at 6:23am, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Michelle- Wow! You know, you could put chocolate in this. Dust a little unsweetened cocoa powder or crushed nibs on the meat too! I’ve made a steak rub before with cumin, chili and cocoa and it was great!

    Rita- Lucky you! Unfortunately, there’s no relief in sight for us.

    Peter- Some clown left a mean and nasty comment in my prior post. I know I should just ignore it, but it kind of hurt my feelings.

    Sazon is a Latin seasoning blend. Goya and Knorr both make a version. It comes in little packets and you can use it on just about everything. I love it in chicken soup! I find it in the ethnic foods aisle at the market.

  17. On April 16, 2008 at 7:26am, Mike of Mike's Table said...

    This looks excellent! There’s something about steak that I just get stuck on…I have trouble thinking of what do with it beyond grill, sauce, serve with mashed potatoes…and its not that I’m so in love with that approach…just stuck. I really like this though and I will definitely have to try it.

    And sorry that junky commenters hit you–don’t let them get to you, authentic or not, this looks DELICIOUS! :)

  18. On April 16, 2008 at 8:01am, Patricia Scarpin said...

    This looks super rich for me, Susan! All the men in my family would go crazy over this dish.

  19. On April 16, 2008 at 7:00pm, Isa said...

    Here in Chile this is also very common and I have to say one of my favourite dishes. As if all you did wasn’t enough, my grandmother adds a fried egg and rice! And, well… like a thousand calories! Haha. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing

  20. On April 16, 2008 at 11:38pm, Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

    mmmm gooood, Cholesterol on top of Cholesterol. We are going to have to buy a set of paddles for in the car toooo…..never know when your gonna need them w/that kind o’ cooking. Looks quite delish!

  21. On April 17, 2008 at 1:22am, Culinary Cowgirl said...

    Oh yum…I love meals like this. So straight-forward and satisfying.

  22. On April 17, 2008 at 2:45am, Astra Libris said...

    Wow, what an incredible dish! I just discovered your blog, and I’m so glad that I did! Not only does this steak look positively scrumptious, but your writing is terrific, and I love the note you added at the end of your post. *high five!*

  23. On April 17, 2008 at 7:49am, The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

    This looks really good and I’m glad you told off anyone who got snarky at you for it. If this doesn’t satisfy someone’s appetite and stoke the energy engines for a day, then there is something wrong with that person.

    There are a lot of Peruvian restaurants in my area and I haven’t been able to try any yet. You have reminded me to remedy this.

  24. On April 17, 2008 at 11:10am, Deborah said...

    I used to work with a couple of guys that were from Peru, so I’m familiar with the egg on the steak, although I’ve never made it at home. Sounds delicious!!

  25. On April 17, 2008 at 5:41pm, Susan from Food Blogga said...

    Every once in a while I’ll make Jeff steak and eggs on a Sunday morning. He would just love this. And I just love the name.

  26. On April 17, 2008 at 9:58pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Mike- Thanks! Glad you like it. I tend not to do too much to steaks. If they’re good ones, you don’t need to.

    Patricia- O know what you mean. This is my husband’s favorite dish.

    Isa- You’re welcome! In my research, I did find that this was a very popular dish in Chile too.

    Obsessive- Hehehe! I knew I could count on you for a chuckle! You only live once!

    Cowgirl- Thank you! I’m glad you like it! :)

    Astra Libris- Welcome! I’m glad you came by and I you enjoyed the blog!

    I’m not usually so snotty, but someone has been leaving nasty comments here. I got ticked off!

    S(d)OCook- Glad you like it! I think there is something wrong with that person. He/She/It seems deranged!

    Deborah- Thanks! I really enjoy the steak/egg combo. I have a Cuban friend who puts fried eggs on hamburgers. It’s delicious!

    Susan- Jeff’s a lucky guy! Don’t tell my husband about the Sunday morning thing. I don’t want him to get any ideas! ;)

  27. On April 18, 2008 at 7:48am, Bellini Valli said...

    This dish sounds like a winner Susan..they say that popularity breeds negativity, so consider any negative comments a compliment:D

  28. On April 18, 2008 at 11:33am, Jen Yu said...

    Oh my word. I have had (and seen countless field partners eat) this in Chile and Argentina! I had so much beef in Argentina I thought I’d come back home with colon cancer ;) Your recipe looks soooo good (yes, because you threw in vegetables to make it that much healthier). As for dim sum… can’t Jaden hook you up with a good place around there??

  29. On June 03, 2009 at 7:30am, Anonymous said...

    Just to tell you this is a Chilean dish, not a Peruvian one

  30. On June 03, 2009 at 8:25am, Susan @ SGCC said...

    Anonymous- Yes, this is a Chilean dish. However, in my research, I also found that it is a popular dish in Peru as well. As a matter of fact, it is on the menu of my favorite Peruvian restaurant, which is why I attributed the dish to Peru. I created the recipe based on that dish. I meant no disrespect to Chile or Chilean cuisine. :)

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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