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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! …
Bistec a lo Pobre*
- 4 sirloin steaks cut to 1/2 inch thickness
- 4 cloves garlic, mashed
- salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika to taste
- 2 large onions, sliced thinly
- 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 packet Sazon seasoning (optional)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 extra large eggs
- Rub the steaks with the garlic. Season with the salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan. Add the onions and potatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the Sazon, if using. Saute the onions and potatoes over medium to medium-high heat, until very tender, about 10 minutes. I find it helpful to cover the pan for the first several minutes and finish it uncovered. Remove to a serving platter and keep warm.
- In the same pan, sear the steaks on each side and cook them until they are done to your liking. Add a little more oil if you need to. Set them aside with the potatoes and onions. Continue to keep warm.
- Fry the eggs, sunny side up, in a nonstick pan. Leave the yolks soft and runny. Lay one egg on top of each steak.
- Serve all together.
*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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