Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Bistec Ranchero Poblano

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6 servings

Bistec Ranchero is a close cousin to carne guisada. The difference, in my experience, is that typically carne guisada is stewed or braised for a longer period of time. And many times a less expensive cut of beef is used. At home, Mom would prepare bistec ranchero with already thin slices of steak or “bistec” as they were labeled in the market. Most often they were sold with the bone in.

It is a very simple recipe that would consist of the bistec, salt, pepper and “la bandera” or chile, cebolla y tomate (hot peppers, onion and tomato). My abuelita used to refer to those three ingredients as “la bandera” because they were the colors of the Mexican flag. Funny how some things stay with you all your life. For this recipe, I found myself with too many poblanos and so I decided to use them two ways in this recipe. Some are diced and some are blended to make this delicious dark green sauce that the bistec ranchero will braise in for a short time.


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  1. After slicing the steak as thin as you can, transfer to a bowl or plate and season lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Let the steak come back to room temperature before cooking. In a large skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium/high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the steak to the hot skillet and brown and sear the beef for 5 to 6 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove steak from pan onto a plate, set aside. If pan is too dry, add just 1/2 tablespoon more of olive oil and again heat to medium/high.
  2. Take 1/3 of the diced poblanos and add them to the blender. Along with the poblanos, you will add 1 teaspoon bouillon granules, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire, 1/2 tablespoon flour and 3/4 cup of water. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.
  3. To the skillet, add the onions and all remaining peppers. Again, season lightly with salt and pepper and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another few minutes. Add the poblano sauce from the blender to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Taste for salt, add the steak back in, cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes or until sauce becomes thick and reduces.

Chef Notes

Bistec-Ranchero-Poblano Turn your leftover bistec ranchero into a special breakfast! Make a Bistec Ranchero Omelet. The recipe below yields 2 servings: 4 large eggs 2 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Tapatio brand) Salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 cup warm bistec ranchero 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped 1/4 cup Chihuahua cheese Green onions for garnish

Directions 1. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. 2. Using an 8 inch nonstick pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter to medium heat. Whisk the egg/milk mixture and pour into pan. Using a silicone spatula, gently stir the eggs, but try not to disturb the edges too much. I swirl the pan so the uncooked eggs cook more evenly. 3. Once the eggs are almost set, add the bistec ranchero to one side of omelette, top with cilantro and cheese. Use the spatula to fold over gently. Cover and reduce heat. The steam will help the cheese melt. Garnish with green onions and salsa. 

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