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The term bistek is really a misnomer I think considering that this dish is referred to as our local answer to the American favorite, the steak. For one, the meat is usually marinated in soy sauce and calmondin and the only seasoning for a good steak if you ask a purist is simple salt and maybe a dash of pepper. Two, the meat is sliced very thinly so that it will take only a couple of minutes to cook without the meat becoming rubbery while a good steak is about at least an inch thick. Lastly, it is usually served with caramelized onions as a garnish while a good steak needs no condiments on the side.
Anyway, back to our dish. With just my instinct and my imagination of what the dish might taste like, I decided to prepare something that resembled the beef dish I was deprived of using a recipe that combined stewing beef in beer and the traditional flavors for bistek. What I created was indeed a version that was surely delectable to look at and after a taste test, my friend informed me that my dish was very similar in taste to what was served in the meeting. That was indeed good enough for me.
Beef Stewed in Beer with Caramelized Onions
3-4 lbs of beef, unsliced
1/3 cup calmondin juice or lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bottles of lager
6 bay leaves
1 1/2 ponds of Spanish onions, sliced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp vegetable oil
1. Marinate the beef in half the garlic, 3 bay leaves, soy sauce, honey,
Worcestershire sauce, calmondin juice and season with salt and
pepper. Cover and store in the fridge for at least two hours.
2. In a large pot, heat half the oil and saute half the garlic and the 3 bay
leaves over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Once the
garlic has softened, brown the meat in the pot on all sides.
3. Once the meat is browned, add the beer and the marinade into the pot.
Make sure that the meat is totally submerged and add more water if
needed. Bring to a boil.
4. Once boiling, adjust the heat to low and cook covered until the meat is
tender. This will take about 2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure that
it has not dried out.
5. When the meat is tender, check for flavor and adjust with salt and
pepper. Add the unsalted butter and allow to melt into the sauce.
6. In a large skillet, heat the remaining vegetable oil over medium high heat.
Saute the onions until softened. Season with salt and keep cooking until it
has turned golden and is very soft. Set aside.
7. To serve, slice the beef into thin rounds and top with the caramelized
onions. Drizzle the sauce over the beef slices and serve with some extra
sauce on the side.