Bistec con papas is an earthy, budget-friendly, and delicious Mexican recipe made with beef and potatoes braised in a tomato and chili sauce.
Every Mexican and Latin American household has its own version of this recipe but today I am sharing the one my mother used to make at home at least once or two times a week.
What is bistec con papas?
Let’s start by the name. Bistec or Bistek is a Spanish word derived from the English words ‘beef steak’; and papas stands for ‘potatoes’.
So, in this case, the recipe is made by braising beef steak bites in a tomato and chili sauce then adding potatoes to the mix.
Almost every country in Latin America has its own version of this recipe, and it includes the ingredients that are available in each place.
In Mexico, bistec con papas can be made in various ways, it can be with or without sauce but when it does include it, it always has some type of chili pepper on it.
The recipe is also known in Mexico with various names like bistec guisado con papas, bistec con chile, bistec en salsa, just to name a few.
What Steak Is Best?
Any cheap steak is a good option if you want to keep this recipe in the low-budget range. Just remember to ask for thin slices, then cut them into small pieces as they will cook faster.
Related article: Beef Cheap Cuts – by BBC good food
If you live in a place with a large Mexican community, chances are that you’ll find some carnicerías (butcher shop), so just ask the butcher for thin beef steaks and tell him that you want to cook bistec con papas, he will know better and cut the meat properly.
Step By Step Recipe
Place tomatoes and chilies in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let them cool slightly. You can now peel the tomatoes if you want or add them with the skin on.
Place cooked tomatoes and chilies in a blender, add onion, garlic, peppercorns, cumin, and a cup and half of the cooking water. Blend until smooth.
In a braising pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add meat and cook, allowing some juices to release and until you will see the meat is no longer pink.
Keep cooking, stirring constantly, until there are no juices left and the meat is nicely browned.
Pour in tomatoes and chili sauce, add water until the meat is well covered. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and set the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes or until meat is tender.
Next, add potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer until potatoes are cooked through. If you see is needed, add a little bit of water to the pan, so the potatoes won’t stick to the bottom.
Once potatoes are nicely cooked, adjust salt to taste. Turn off the heat and serve bistec con papas as suggested below.
Tips and tricks
Now, the recipe is pretty much delicious with whatever you decide to serve it. Steamed rice, plain noodles, and even a green salad on the side are all amazing options too.
Store and Reheat
If you have leftovers (I really doubt it!) you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then just reheat the stew in a saucepan with one or two tablespoons of water to loosen it up.
Bistec guisado con papas is a perfect prep meal that freezes wonderfully too. So, double the recipe and divide it into containers or bags, then freeze for up to 3 months.
Watch How To Make It
Other Mexican Beef Dinners To Make
- Beef Chile Rojo – Beef bites simmered in a chili red sauce.
- Birria de Res – Traditional beef stew cooked in a spiced and fragrant broth.
- Carne en su jugo – Beef cooked in its own juices.
Bistec Con Papas
- 1 ½ lb steak (sliced thinly and cut into small pieces)
- 1.1 lb potatoes (cut into small cubes)
- 1 lb tomatoes
- 2 jalapeño or serrano chilies (optional)
- 1 small onion (cut into chunks)
- 1 garlic clove (peeled)
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- salt (to taste)
- Place tomatoes and chilies in a sauce pan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let them cool sightly.
- Place cooked tomatoes and chilies in a blender, add onion, garlic, cumin, peppercorns, and 1 ½ cup of the cooking water. Blend until smooth.
- In a braising pan heat the olive oil, add meat and cook until it is no longer pink but there are still juices in the pan.
- Pour in the tomato sauce, season with salt, and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pan, set heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes (read notes).
- Add potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer until potatoes are cooked through (about 15 minutes), adding more water if needed.
- Adjust salt to taste, turn off the heat and serve.
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