Palomilla Steak, Black Beans and Fried Plantains

This is a typical Cuban dish widely enjoyed in South Florida. We always eat it but never cooked it at home. My friend Saide Bofil came to the rescue with a simple lip-smacking recipe.

palomilla copy Bistec de Palomilla is a Cuban dish consisting of top round steak, pan fried after being marinated in garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. It is usually served with black beans, fried plantains (maduros) and rice. Below are the recipes. It looks like a lot of work but it really isn’t as each component is fast and simple to prepare. I am using canned beans in this version so the food can be on the table in a jiffy.

Ingredients for Black Beans

  • 3 15- to 16-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup canned vegetable broth or water
  • Ground cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
  • A bunch of chopped cilantro


Add 1 cup of beans to a pan. Using the back of a fork, mash beans coarsely. Add remaining beans, broth and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Put more water or broth if necessary if it gets too thick. Add ground cumin and mix well.

Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes and then mix in with the beans.

Season beans to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with cilantro.

Ingredients for the Plantains

  • 2 very ripe plantains (the skin of the plantain should be brownish black)
  • oil


Heat approximately 1/4″ oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Peel the plantain, and cut at an angle, making slices about 3/4″ thick.

Fry plantain in oil, roughly 3 minutes per side, or until both sides are brown. When browned, remove from skillet and place on a paper towel covered plate to drain the excess oil off.

Ingredients for the Palomilla Steak

  • 6 top round steaks, pounded to 1/4 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sour (Seville) oranges
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped


Season steaks with garlic, sour oranges, salt, and pepper. Allow to marinate at least 1 hour, refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap.

Prepare the garnish: combine the chopped onion, parsley, salt and pepper, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Set aside.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until very hot, and brown each steak for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. You can also grill the steaks for a smokier flavor.

Garnish the steaks with the onion and parsley mixture.

Assemble the steak, black beans and plantains on a plate and serve with plain white rice. Add lime wedges for a tropical touch.

Here is a demo for the steak preparation by Chef Juan Montalvo.

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