Bistec Encebollado

Onioned Beef Filet

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 4 to 6


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

This is definitely my husband’s favorite dish—although anything else that has lots of onions is, too! This recipe is somewhat elegant compared to other beef recipes. Using wine and beef filet it is still very typical; it could be prepared with skirt or flank steak instead. Many of our dishes have Asian or European influences, as does this one.


  • 3 to 4 pounds filet of beef, cut into 1½-inch thick steaks
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup sliced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • Butter or oil, for cooking the meat


  1. Place the beef in a nonreactive container.
  2. Combine the wine, 2 of the garlic cloves, the mustard, and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and whisk well. Keep one teaspoon of this mixture aside for the onions; rub the rest over the beef slices, and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime prepare the onions. Tie the allspice and cloves in cheesecloth for easier removal. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan, add the onions, the remaining 2 garlic cloves, the allspice and cloves, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook over very low heat, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to medium, add another ½ teaspoon of the salt, the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of cognac, and reserved mustard mixture, and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Remove the allspice and cloves. Set aside.
  5. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the beef slices for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, 6 minutes for medium, and 8 minutes on each side for well-done. Add 1 teaspoon of salt while cooking.
  6. Add the remaining tablespoon of cognac to deglaze the pan, and add the cooked onions.
  7. Mix and serve.