Cuban pan con bistec

I’ve been craving some of the more traditional Cuba dishes of my childhood and this steak sandwich (or pan con bistec) is just the ticket. Most of my favorite Cuban recipes I have taken great care to perfect them over the years so they’re easy to make. Also, my kids love them so making these on weeknights where time is of the essence is so convenient.

What is a Cuban pan con bistec?

A pan con bistec is a Cuban-style steak sandwich. This is not just any steak sandwich though. They are so delicious they can be found in restaurants and cafeterias all over my city but they are also easy to make at home.

Cuban pan con bistec topped with onions shredded lettuce tomatoes potato sticks
Cuban pan con bistec or Steak sandwich

The star of this sandwich is the thinly sliced and well marinated steak. The steaks are pounded to desired thickness (or thinness I should say), marinated with fresh squeezed lime and orange juice and seasoned with salt and pepper. The steaks are then refrigerated for up to 8 hours. This allows the steaks to soak up all those delicious flavors and also become more tender.

The traditional toppings are onions (some like them raw, I like them cooked), thin sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and potato sticks. All of this between two slices of soft Cuban bread is nothing short of amazing.

How to make a Cuban pan con bistec?

If you’ve ever fried an egg with success, I promise this is even easier. All you need are some thin cut steaks, a few ingredients, some seasoning and you have a delicious sandwich fit for any meal. My kids often ask me to make this for dinner. Once you get the marinade out of the way, the steaks are done and on a plate in under 15 minutes.

When you’re ready to cook them, take them out of the refrigerator and allow them to sit out for about 15 minutes to come to room temperature.

If you have a heavy-bottomed skillet, preferably cast iron, this would be the best way to go. I like to use 1 tablespoon of olive oil to cook the first two steaks and then add the second tablespoon for the final two, if needed. This way the steaks are not swimming in oil.

The traditional fixings

Over time, I’ve seen people get creative with the fixings for this sandwich, but I like to keep it original (mostly at least). When the steaks are ready to serve, I like to place mine for a couple of minutes in the toaster oven for just a light toast but this is totally optional. Place the steak on the bottom slice and start topping. I place the onions right over the steaks and then lettuce, followed by the tomato. Top that with the potato sticks. I like to spread some mayo on the top slice of bread. Not traditional, but it adds a creamy deliciousness and it helps to keep the potato sticks in the sandwich.

That’s it friends! Hope you enjoy this sandwich as much as we do in our little corner of the world. Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram #Jennshomemade. I would love to see your creation of this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of Cuban bread
  • 4 thinly sliced top round steaks
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 orange, fresh squeezed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tomato thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of potato sticks
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise (optional)

Directions

  1. Taking one steak at a time, place it in a 1 gallon ziploc bag. Using a mallet pound the meat to the desired thickness. This will also help to tenderize the meat. Repeat for all four pieces.
  2. Place meat slices in a large bowl or baking dish. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to 1 tbsp of olive oil distributing evenly on all slices.
  3. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, orange juice, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the steaks. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and allow to sit out for about 15 minutes to come to room temperature.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottom skillet, preferably cast iron.
  6. Remove steaks from the bowl, one at a time, allowing all the excess juices from the marinade to drip back into the bowl. Place two steaks at a time into the skillet. The steaks are very thin and will only need to cook for a couple of minutes on either side. Remove the steaks from the skillet and onto a plate to rest.
  7. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Repeat step 6 with the final two steaks.
  8. If sauteing the onions, add them to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Then pour the onions and juices from the pan over the steaks.
  9. Cut the Cuban loaf in four equal pieces. Slice each piece in half along its length making sure not to go all the way so the two pieces are still attached.
  10. Place a steak slice over the bottom half of the Cuban bread and top with the onions. Then add the lettuce, followed by the tomatoes. Finish it off with a handful of potato sticks.
  11. Spread mayonnaise on the top half of the bread before closing it.
Print

Cuban pan con bistec

A pan con bistec is a Cuban-style steak sandwich found in restaurants and cafeterias all over my little corner of the world. This is not just any steak sandwich though. The star of this sandwich is the thinly sliced and well marinated steak. topped with sauteed onions, shredded lettuce, thin sliced tomatoes and potato sticks.

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of Cuban bread
  • 4 thinly sliced top round steaks
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 orange, fresh squeezed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tomato thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of potato sticks
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise (optional) 

Instructions

  1. Taking one steak at a time, place it in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Using a mallet pound the meat to the desired thickness. This will also help to tenderize the meat. Repeat for all four pieces.
  2. Place meat slices in a large bowl or baking dish. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to 1 tbsp of olive oil distributing evenly on all slices.
  3. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, orange juice, salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the steaks. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and allow to sit out for about 15 minutes to come to room temperature.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottom skillet, preferably cast iron.
  6. Remove steaks from the bowl, one at a time, allowing all the excess juices from the marinade to drip back into the bowl. Place two steaks at a time into the skillet. The steaks are very thin and will only need to cook for a couple of minutes on either side. Remove the steaks from the skillet and onto a plate to rest.
  7. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Repeat step 6 with the final two steaks.
  8. If sauteing the onions, add them to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Then pour the onions and juices from the pan over the steaks.
  9. Cut the Cuban loaf in four equal pieces. Slice each piece in half along its length making sure not to go all the way so the two pieces are still attached.
  10. Place a steak slice over the bottom half of the Cuban bread and top with the onions. Then add the lettuce, followed by the tomatoes. Finish it off with a handful of potato sticks.
  11. Spread mayonnaise on the top half of the bread before closing it.

Notes

Marinate the steaks overnight when possible, but if you’re putting this together last minute, just give them 30 minutes in the marinade and they’ll still be delicious.

For any leftover steaks they can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours in an airtight container.  Any longer and the meat may dry out because it’s so thin.

Build the sandwich when you’re ready to eat.  This will avoid the bread from getting soggy.

Jennifer Lopez

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