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Encebollado mouthwatering steak recipe

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Published on Friday, May 12, 2023


By Melissa Pette

The encebollado steak is one of the simplest, yet most appetizing dishes in Costa Rica.

The encebollado means steak topped with fried onions in English. The dish is made of salted and peppered meat covered in chopped onions.  

It is usually served in tortillas as a steak taco. This dish is one of the all-time favorites and is considered a traditional Tico food that is prepared as just a simple lunch meal served with white rice, beans and fried plantains.

Today, our new friends, Lorraine and Mark Isag, a couple from the Dillon District in Beaverhead County, Montana are inviting us to try their delicious version of encebollado steak.

Some moons ago, the Isags changed their lifestyle in the Yellowstone-based state of Montana for the Pura Vida lifestyle on their new farm in Heredia Hills.

They tell us a little about their history and the reasons for deciding to retire in Costa Rica.

"Most notably, rent costs were more than 10% above the national average in the countryside (no big cities). Housing prices have sky-rocketed making it even harder for many to live in Beaverhead," they said.

The Isags said that while Yellowstone Park is well known as a top travel destination, "career opportunities in the area are still limited especially compared to larger metropolitan areas."

The lack of upward mobility and something else influenced their final decision to move.

"But the worst of all is the freezing winter," Mark said. "The months from November through April (sometimes until May) are the worst harsh winter weather. There are several cold fronts when the temperature drops significantly throughout the winter months. There just comes a time in your life when you say to yourself, enough is enough."

The Isags are not alone, as we can all understand this and more reasons why many of us decided to live in a warmer climate country.

So, let's go to the kitchen!

Encebollado steak
By Lorraine and Mark Isag
From Beaverhead County, Montana.
Living in Heredia Province

The ingredients for 2 to 4 people are:

  • 1 lb. beef or pork thinly sliced.

  • ¼ cup soy sauce ( optional).

  • 1 piece lemon (optional).

  • ½ tsp ground black pepper or lizano sauce.

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed.

  • 2 large white onions, sliced into rings.

  • 3 tbsp cooking oil.

  • Some garlic chives herbs chopped.

  • Salt to taste.

First, marinate beef in soy sauce, lemon, and ground black pepper (or lizano) for at least 1 hour.

Heat the cooking oil in a pan then stir-fry the onion rings until the texture becomes soft. Add some lizano mix and set aside.

In the same pan where the onions were fried, fry the marinated beef (without the marinade sauce) until the color turns brown. Set aside.

Put in the garlic then sautè for a few minutes.

Pour the marinade and bring to a boil.

Put in the fried beef and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is tender.

Add water as needed.

Add the stir-fried onions, some garlic, chopped chives herbs and some salt to taste. Serve hot with white rice and enjoy!

Have a Pura Vida weekend!

Find more amazing step-by-step Costa Rican food recipes on 
the AM Costa Rica Food & Good Eating website. You are invited to share your favorite recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish by emailing food@amcostarica.com

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