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Vaca Frita (Pan-Fried Beef)

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"This is one of my favorite Cuban foods. It reminds me of the countryside. I like this with black bean soup and rice and either platanos maduros (fried ripe plantains) or tostones (fried pressed plantains). You could also serve with black beans and rice cooked together. A spicy Cabernet Sauvignon would go well with this dish."
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1 h 30 m servings 221
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Cut 1 onion in half and thinly slice the remaining onion. Set aside.
  2. Combine flank steak, halved onion, bell pepper, and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until meat is easily shredded with 2 forks, about 20 minutes. Transfer flank steak to a work surface and let cool, about 10 minutes. Strain beef broth and save for another use. Shred cooled meat using 2 forks and place into a separate bowl.
  3. Mix garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl. Apply paste onto the meat, along with lime juice, olive oil, and sliced onion. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add butter. Working in small batches, spread shredded beef in a thin layer into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once or twice, until sizzling and crispy, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter and serve with lime wedges.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • You can use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter, if preferred.
  • You can prepare the meat and refrigerate overnight to allow it to absorb the marinade.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 221 calories; 14.6 8.4 14.6 38 268 Full nutrition

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