International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Pabellón Criollo

Pabellon Criollo (Venezuelan shredded beef with beans, rice and plantains)

(Venezuelan shredded beef with beans, rice and plantains)

Image by Kelly Schott

Average: 4 (65 votes)

Pabellón criollo is the quintessential Venezuelan meal. The various components of the dish are a balance of flavors and colors that make a Venezuelan's heart sing: shredded beef, simmered black beans, fried plantains and hot rice. Sometimes a fried egg is thrown on the top for good measure.

4 to 6 servings


  • Oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Beef sirloin or flank steak -- 2 pounds
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Salt -- 2 teaspoons
  • Pepper -- 1 teaspoon
  • Water -- to cover
  • Onion, finely chopped -- 1
  • Red bell pepper, finely chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 3-4 cloves
  • Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped -- 2 to 3 cups
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Cooked black beans -- 1 recipe
  • Cooked white rice -- 4 cups
  • Fried plantains -- 1 recipe


  1. Heat the oil in in a skillet over medium-high flame. Sear the meat on both sides to brown well, about 4 or 5 minutes per side.
  2. Remove from heat and place the meat in a large pot with the chopped onion, salt, pepper and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is very tender.
  3. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside to cool, reserving the broth. When cool, shred the meat with your fingers or two forks.
  4. Reheat the skillet, adding more oil if necessary. Add the finely chopped onion, peppers and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.
  5. Stir in the shredded meat, chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. Add a little of the reserved broth to moisten and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with black beans, white rice a couple of fried plantains.

Pabellón Criollo Variations

  • Pabellón a Caballo: Serve with a fried egg on top.
  • During Lent, when eating meat is avoided, pabellón criollo is sometimes made with fish, caiman or even capybara (chigüire), a large rodent that has been classified by the Catholic Church as a fish.
  • A little cumin seed can be added to the sauteing onions and peppers if you like.


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