Cuban Breaded Steaks with Red Beans and Rice

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 2h

Serves 4

This recipe, called Bistec Empanizado in Cuba, is a classic preparation; a similar version (but without the breading) that is equally popular in Cuban homes and on menus in Miami and Havana alike is called Bistec de Palomilla. Red beans and rice is a classic Cuban side dish called Congri.


  • For Red Beans and Rice:
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 ounces smoked bacon (or 2 large slices), diced
  • 2 ounces lean ham, diced
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • For Marinade:
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced to a paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • For Steaks and Breading:
  • 4 top sirloin steaks, about 6 ounces each
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) light olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced white onion, for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


TO PREPARE RED BEANS AND RICE: Drain and rinse the soaked beans and place in a saucepan with enough fresh cold water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Slowly bring to a simmer and cook at a low simmer until just tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep the beans covered. Drain the beans, reserving 4 cups of the cooking liquid.

In a large, dry, heavy skillet, saute the bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the ham to the skillet and saute in the rendered bacon fat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the ham and drain on paper towels.

Add the oil to the skillet and saute the garlic, onion and bell pepper over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the 4 cups of reserved cooking liquid from the beans, the reserved cooked bacon and ham, the cumin, oregano, pepper, salt and rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat to low, and cover the pan. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Uncover the pan, stir in the reserved beans, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, thoroughly combine all the marinade ingredients in a large shallow dish. Gently pound out the steaks with a flat-sided meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Add to the dish and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

TO PREPARE STEAKS: Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Place the eggs in a shallow bowl and mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley on a plate. Dredge the steaks first in the egg wash and then in the breadcrumbs, coating them well. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy saute pan or skillet and saute 2 steaks at a time over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side for medium rare or about 4 minutes per side for medium, and the breadcrumb coating is golden brown. Repeat for the remaining steaks.

TO SERVE: Place the steaks on warm serving plates and garnish with a small mound of onion topped with the parsley. Spoon the red beans and rice to the side of the steaks and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 5359

nutrition information per serving

990 calories; 38g total fat; 281mg cholesterol; 1148mg sodium; 95g carbohydrates; 14g fiber; 65g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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