The traffic is bad, the rain is pouring, and you’re hungry. You pull over to a roadside carinderia and order beef pares.
The lady serves you a plate of hot rice with tender beef coated in a dark sauce on the side. Then she hands you a bowl of plain soup, which she says you can refill if you like.
Your patience thickens with each bite of beef, and your body heats up with each sip of soup. And you return to the road as a different person.
- What is the Best Substitute for Havarti Cheese?
- What is a Good Substitute for Monterey Cheese?
- What is a Good Substitute for Ghee? Solutions for Milk Allergy
WHAT IS BEEF PARES?
Beef pares is a traditional Filipino dish that consists of two main courses: saucy beef and beef soup. They’re always served with rice, hence the name pares (Filipino for “pair”).
The beef is braised or pressed to tenderize it before being tossed in a sweet-savory asado (Chinese barbecue-style) sauce.
When the latter method is used, the liquid used for braising is repurposed as a clear soup that is served to finish the meal.
The most famous beef pares is pares sa Retiro, which refers to the original version made in Quezon City’s Retiro (now N.S. Amoranto Street).
THE BEEF PARES TESTS
We were looking for two things in our quest to make the best beef pares: extra tender beef that retains flavor and a hearty broth that can stand on its own.
So we put two common beef cuts used for pares to the test, as well as whether instant broth could provide the desired experience.
KADERA VS. KALITIRAN
Both kadera (chuck rib) and kalitiran (blade clod) are beef cuts taken from the cow’s shoulder. Being around more overworked muscles makes them naturally tough.
As a result, they must be cooked slowly and at a low temperature, making them suitable for stews such as pares.
However, we discovered that the kalitiran was superior because it contained more meat and collagen, and its texture was more appropriate for the dish.
Furthermore, the kalitiran absorbed the asado sauce far better.
The kadera became tender after the same amount of time in the oven. When eaten, however, it felt drier in the mouth.
INSTANT VS. HOMEMADE BROTH
We don’t always believe that everything made from scratch is always better, even though it frequently is.
So we decided to give instant broths the benefit of the doubt, hoping that this recipe wouldn’t require the extra few hours to make homemade broth.
First, we experimented with boxed broth. While the color was appealing, the flavor was unnatural (our tester described it as tasting like “wet cat food”). It also had an unappealing odor.
We then attempted to make broth with bouillon cubes. This is a method we are not afraid to use.
However, while it works as a substitute for recipes that call for beef broth that must be added to another dish, it falls short on its own. It was greasy and a little salty.
HOW TO COOK BEEF PARES
If you’re making a beef dish, this is the ideal time to use your pressure cooker.
The pressure cooker raises the temperature inside the pot, resulting in faster cooking and more tender beef. If you don’t have any on hand, you can slow-cook the beef, but it will take a long time.
To begin, pressure cook the beef pares to create a savory beef broth and super tender beef meat. Keep the beef broth aside.
A portion of it will be used to make the sauce, while the remainder will be served as is. Sauté the aromatics before adding the beef cubes and the remaining ingredients to make a dark sauce.
To adjust the thickness of the sauce, add a slurry. Serve the beef pares with garlic fried rice and beef broth. Eat them together for a wonderful pares experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the origin of the name Beef Pares? Pares literally means “Pair,” as this meat dish goes well with garlic fried rice or Sinangag and beef soup.
Pares (pronounced PAH-ress) is a Filipino term for a serving of braised beef stew with garlic fried rice and a bowl of clear soup. Informally, Pares can also refer to any dish prepared in the “asado-style” (i.e. stewed in a sweet-soy sauce).
With the rich flavors of well-seasoned meat and broth, a good bowl of Beef Pares is always a treat. The aromatic and delicious dish is made possible by the delightful combination of soy sauce, star anise, and black pepper.
Brisket is a beef cut derived from a cow’s lower breast or pectoral muscles. Because this area is so well-exercise, it produces a tough piece of meat with a lot of connective tissue. As a result, it’s best suited to a low and slow cooking method.