Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bistec Empanizado (Cuban Breaded Steak)

Occasionally my family will have dinner & a movie night, when we'll plan a menu around one of our favorite films. Dinner and a movie night is always an anticipated event in our household because it allows us to be creative while doing something we love and there are always suprises involved in the event. Unfortunately, the daily grind of life keeps us from doing this as frequently as we'd like. My wife has reminded me on numerous occasions that it's been awhile since I've hosted a dinner and a movie, so I'm trying to generate ideas for a possible dinner and a movie this month.

To get me in a creative mindset, Thursday night I revisited one of the recipes I used in a dinner revolving around the movie Wrestling Ernest Hemingway. The movie, set in Miami, focuses on the relationship of two senior citizens played by Richard Harris and Robert Duvall. Since Cuban culture plays a role in the film, my menu showcased Cuban cuisine. My main dish was Bistec Empanizado, a simple Cuban Bread Steak, and since it received rave reviews and I was scratching my head for possible dinner ideas, I decided to make this for dinner.

I like the simplicity of the this recipe.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup sour orange juice (see Note)

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1-1/2 pounds tenderized round steak

  • 1 cup cracker meal (finely ground crackers - I used Club Crackers)

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 egg whites, beaten

  • Olive oil for sauteing

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

  • Freshly ground pepper

  1. Mix olive oil, sour orange juice, vinegar and chopped onion to make a marinade. Add unpounded beef steaks, cover, and marinate for 20 minutes.

  2. Remove steaks from marinade and place them, one at a time, between two pieces of waxed paper. Using a meat mallet, pound steak to 1/4 thickness. Return steaks to marinade. (If you are in a hurry, proceed with the remaining steps. Otherwise, refrigerate and continue marinating for 1 to 4 hours.)

  3. In a medium bowl, combine cracker meal, garlic powder and salt. Dip wet beef in egg whites, then dip in cracker mixture, coating well on both sides. Fry to desired doneness in from pan and place on plate.

Note: Sour orange juice, naranha agria, is a popular in Cuban cooking.
You can find it by the can in some Latin supermarkets. Or make your own substitution by using 2 parts orange juice, 1 part lemon juice and one part lime juice.

Nutrition facts per serving: 496 calories, 21 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 81 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 42 g protein, 436 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

I served this with some sauteed spinach and cilantro-lime rice. Later I'll post the recipes for each of these dishes. I'm still not feeling comfortable snapping photos of my food. It just seems unnatural, but I'll still plug away at perfecting my culinary presentation.

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