This Paraguayan Marinera de Carne (Battered Steak) recipe bursts with flavor. We seasoned it with garlic, chopped parsley, fresh lime juice, black pepper, and adobo seasoning for an extra flavor boost; the citrus marinade with the savory batter creates a nice depth of flavor. This recipe is easy; the only hard part is resisting eating it while frying. Whether you're a meat lover or simply looking for a new recipe, this Paraguayan Marinera de Carne is sure to impress and leave your taste buds wanting more. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to experience the taste of Paraguay in every bite.🍻
What is Marinera de Carne?
Marinera de Carne, also known as Escalope a la Marinera, is a typical Paraguayan dish. Although this dish originated in France, Paraguay has adopted it almost as its own, as this delicacy is very popular in the country. It is traditionally made with steak or chicken thinned with a mallet (which helps break down the meat's fibers and make it more tender). The meat is then coated in a plain batter and fried.
Brief Highlight Of Our Marinera de Carne Recipe:
- Taste: Marinera de Carne is characterized by its savory and zesty flavor. The beef is marinated with garlic, lime juice, Adobo seasoning, black pepper, and parsley, giving it a tangy and aromatic taste. The batter adds a crispy and savory element, enhancing the dish's overall flavor profile.
- Texture: The dish offers a delightful contrast in textures. The beef is tender and juicy, thanks to the marinating process. The batter creates a crispy and crunchy coating around the meat, satisfying each bite's crunch. The result is a perfect balance of tender and crispy textures.
- Method: Making Marinera de Carne involves marinating thin slices of beef in a flavorful mixture of garlic, lime juice, Adobo seasoning, black pepper, and parsley. Then, the beef is coated in a batter made from eggs, flour, and club soda (or sparkling water). The battered beef is deep-fried until it becomes crispy and golden brown. The marinating step infuses the beef with flavor, while the batter creates a crispy exterior.
Marinera de Carne Ingredients
Note: The full ingredients list is provided in the recipe card below.
- Beef: I recommend using Beef Tenderloin because it's the most tender cut of meat. Top or bottom round steaks, thinly sliced, also works. Make sure to lightly pound the steaks to tenderize and create a uniform ½-inch thickness.
- Oil: Any Neutal flavored oil for frying works. I use peanut oil.
- Eggs & Flour: To make the batter.
- Club soda: It lightens the batter, making the Marinera extra crisp. You can use seltzer or sparkling water to substitute club soda.
- Goya Adobo All-Purpose Seasoning or Kosher Salt: The seasoning adds savory and salty flavors to the marinade, enhancing the taste of the beef. It helps to season and balance the overall dish.
- Ground Black Pepper: Black pepper provides a mild heat and aromatic flavor to the marinade and batter, complementing the other ingredients and adding a hint of spiciness.
- Parsley: Chopped parsley adds freshness and a subtle herbal note to the marinade. It contributes to the overall flavor profile and enhances the dish's visual appeal.
- Lime Juice and Zest: The lime juice adds a tangy and citrusy element to the marinade, brightening the flavors of the beef. The lime zest adds aromatic citrus oils, intensifying the citrus flavor.
- Fresh Garlic or Granulated Garlic: Garlic adds a robust and savory taste to the marinade, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish. It complements the beef and other seasonings.
- Whole Milk: Milk is a key ingredient in the batter, adding moisture and richness to the coating. It helps create a smooth and creamy consistency.
Tools you'll need
How to Make Marinara de Carne
Note: The full instructions are provided in the recipe card below.
In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, garlic, Adobo Seasoning, chopped parsley, and ground black pepper; set aside. Add the plain flour to a large shallow bowl; set it aside. Using a rolling pin or a meat mallet, pound the beef tenderloins between 2 sheets of parchment paper until they are evenly ½ inch thick. Slice each beef in half crosswise to have two pieces approximately the same size; repeat with the rest. Place the pounded beef in the marinade, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
Whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until very foamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk and gradually whisk in the flour until no lumps remain (the batter should be smooth). Next, stir in the club soda, ½ half at a time, whisking to work out any lumps. The batter should have the consistency of pancake batter. When ready to cook the beef, preheat the oven to 250 °F (121.11 °C). Place a sheet pan with a baking rack on it in the oven. Heat 3 inches of oil over medium-high heat using a large high-sided skillet.
Once the oil is shimmering, working in batches, lift the beef from the marinade, allow the excess to drip off, dredge the meat on both sides in the flour, and shake off any excess flour. Then dip it well in the batter mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Fry 1 to 2 Marinera de Carne at a time, leaving room between them, occasionally turning until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, and gently pressing down on the meat to help ensure even browning. (The internal temperature of the meat should register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
Be careful; the oil will splatter! Do not overcrowd the skillet; the oil temperature will drop; Adjust the heat as needed to keep the temperature at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
(I recommend using a Deep Frying Thermometer). Remove with a fork and transfer the Marinera de Carne to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Then transfer the cooked Marinara to the sheet pan with a baking rack to keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining Marinera until it's all cooked. Repeat the procedure with the remaining beef. Serve with "Fideo a la Manteca" Buttered Pasta, Yum!
- Beef: If you can't find beef tenderloin or top/bottom round steaks, you can use other tender cuts of beef such as ribeye or sirloin. Just make sure to pound them thinly to achieve the desired thickness.
- Oil: Peanut oil is recommended for frying due to its high smoke point, but you can use other neutral oils like canola, vegetable, or sunflower oil.
- Club Soda: If you don't have club soda, substitute it with seltzer or sparkling water. These carbonated alternatives will help make the batter light and crisp.
- Goya Adobo All-Purpose Seasoning: If you don't have this specific seasoning, you can replace it with kosher salt or your favorite all-purpose seasoning blend. Adjust the quantity to your taste.
- Ground Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is preferred, but you can use pre-ground black pepper if that's what you have on hand.
- Parsley: If you don't have fresh parsley, you can substitute it with dried parsley, or you can omit it if necessary.
- Lime Juice and Zest: You can substitute lime juice and zest with lemon juice and zest if limes are not available.
- Fresh Garlic: If you don't have fresh garlic, you can use granulated garlic or garlic powder as a substitute. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preferences.
- Spicy Marinara: Add heat to the marinade and batter by incorporating cayenne pepper, paprika, or chili powder. Adjust the amount based on your desired level of spiciness.
- Citrus Twist: Experiment with different citrus flavors by substituting the lime juice with lemon or orange juice. Add lemon or orange zest to the marinade for an extra citrusy freshness.
- Herbed Batter: Enhance the flavor of the batter by adding chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano, or basil. This will infuse the meat with additional aromatic notes.
- Cheesy Option: Mix grated Parmesan or your favorite cheese into the batter for a cheesy twist. This will give the Marinera de Carne a rich, savory flavor.
- Seasoning Variations: Feel free to customize the seasoning to your taste preferences. You can use different spice blends or seasonings instead of Goya Adobo, such as Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, or a homemade spice blend of your choice.
- Dipping Sauces: Serve the Marinera de Carne with dipping sauces to add flavor. Consider options like chimichurri sauce, garlic aioli, spicy mayo, or a tangy barbecue sauce.
- Gluten-Free Option: If you prefer a gluten-free version, replace the all-purpose flour in the batter with a gluten-free blend or almond flour. Ensure that the marinade ingredients and additional coating are also gluten-free.
How to Serve
- Traditional Style: Serve the Marinera de Carne as the main dish, accompanied by classic Paraguayan sides such as "Fideo a la Manteca" (Buttered Pasta), which you mentioned in the recipe. The buttery pasta provides a delicious contrast to the crispy steak. You can also serve it with rice and a fresh salad for a well-rounded meal.
- Sandwich or Burger: Turn the Marinera de Carne into a delicious sandwich or burger by placing the fried steak between two slices of bread or a burger bun. Add your favorite toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, and condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, or mustard. This is a great option for a quick and satisfying meal.
- Tacos or Wraps: Another option is to use the Marinera de Carne as a filling for tacos or wraps. Warm up some tortillas and fill them with the crispy steak and your choice of toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. This creates a flavorful and portable meal.
- Appetizer or Tapas: Cut the cooked Marinera de Carne into smaller pieces and serve them as appetizers or tapas. They make great finger food for parties or gatherings. You can serve them with dipping sauces such as chimichurri, aioli, or spicy salsa for added flavor.
How to Store & Re-Heat
To store: Allow it to cool completely, and then refrigerate it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To reheat: One method is to heat it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed. Alternatively, you can reheat it on the stovetop by placing it in a skillet with a small amount of oil or butter, cooking for a few minutes on each side until heated. Another option is to use an air fryer, preheating it to 350°F (175°C) and heating the Marinera de Carne for about 5-7 minutes until warm and crispy. Once reheated, serve it immediately to enjoy its crispy texture.
For a make-ahead option with Marinera de Carne, marinate the beef as instructed and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, prepare the batter, fry the meat, and serve immediately or keep warm in the oven. This allows for convenient pre-preparation without compromising on flavor.
How to Freeze
Let the cooked meat cool to freeze Marinera de Carne, then transfer it to airtight, freezer-safe containers or bags. Label them with the date and freeze them for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or on the stovetop until warm. Freezing allows for convenient storage and future enjoyment of the dish.
Tips for Making The Best Marinera de Carne
- Quality of Beef: Choose high-quality beef tenderloins for tender and flavorful results. Trim any excess fat or connective tissue before pounding the meat.
- Marinating Time: Give the beef enough time to marinate, as it helps to infuse flavors and tenderize the meat. Refrigerate the marinated beef for at least 30 minutes, but for even better results, marinate it for a few hours or overnight.
- Proper Oil Temperature: Maintain a consistent oil temperature of around 350°F (175°C) while frying. This ensures the meat cooks evenly and achieves a crispy golden crust.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Fry the Marinera de Carne in batches, allowing enough space between each piece. Overcrowding the skillet will reduce the oil temperature, resulting in soggy meat instead of a crispy exterior.
- Drain Excess Oil: Place the cooked Marinera de Carne on paper towels or a wire rack to drain excess oil after frying. This step helps to remove any greasiness and ensures a lighter texture.
- Seasoning Balance: Adjust the amount of seasoning to your taste preferences. Taste the marinade and batter to ensure they have the right flavors. You can add more seasoning or spices if desired.
- Serve Immediately: Marinera de Carne is best enjoyed fresh and hot. Serve it immediately after frying to maintain its crispiness and flavor.
- Garnish and Presentation: Sprinkle some fresh parsley or cilantro on top of the Marinera de Carne before serving for freshness and visual appeal.
- Experiment and Customize: Feel free to experiment with additional herbs, spices, or seasonings to personalize the recipe to your liking. For added texture and flavor, you can also try different coatings or batters, such as breadcrumbs or cornmeal.
Can I use a different cut of beef instead of tenderloin?
While the recipe calls explicitly for beef tenderloins, you can use other cuts of beef if desired. However, remember that different cuts may have varying textures and flavors, which can affect the overall outcome of the dish. It's best to choose relatively tender cuts that are suitable for frying.
Can I substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative?
You can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free blend or almond flour to make the recipe gluten-free. Ensure that the flour alternative you choose has properties similar to all-purpose flour to achieve the desired texture in the batter and coating.
Can I oven-bake the Marinera de Carne instead of frying it?
The recipe is traditionally fried to achieve a crispy exterior. While oven-baking may have a different texture, you can try it as an alternative method. Preheat the oven to a high temperature (around 425°F or 220°C), place the breaded and coated meat on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
How can I adjust the spice level of the dish?
To adjust the spice level, you can increase or decrease the amount of black pepper or incorporate additional spices like cayenne or chili powder. Taste the marinade and batter as you go to achieve the desired level of spiciness.
Why do you dredge the meat in flour?
Dredge the beef in flour before dipping it in the batter; this will help the batter adhere better to the meat.
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How to Make Marinera de Carne
- 1 kg Beef Tenderloins , trimmed
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon Goya Adobo All-purpose seasoning or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup parsley , finely chopped
- Juice from 4 large juicy limes plus the zest
- 3 fresh garlic cloves , grated or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1- liter canola oil , as needed (to fry)
For the Batter:
- 250 g (2 cups) All-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, garlic, Adobo Seasoning, chopped parsley, and ground black pepper; set aside. Using a rolling pin or a meat mallet, pound the beef tenderloins between 2 sheets of parchment paper until they are evenly ½ inch thick. Slice each beef in half crosswise, so you have two pieces approximately the same size; repeat with the rest of the beef. Place the pounded beef in the marinade, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper until very foamy in a large bowl, about 3 minutes. Add the milk and gradually whisk in the flour until no lumps remain (batter should be smooth). Next, stir in the club soda, ½ half at a time, whisking to work out any lumps. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream.
- When ready to cook the beef, preheat the oven to 250 °F (121.11 °C). Place a sheet pan with a baking rack on it in the oven. Heat 3 inches of oil over medium-high heat using a large high-sided skillet. Add the plain flour to a large shallow bowl; set it aside. Once the oil is shimmering, working in batches, lift the beef from the marinade, allow the excess to drip off, dredge the meat on both sides in the flour, and shake off any excess flour.
- Next, dip it well in the batter mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Fry 1 to 2 Marinera de Carne at a time, leaving room between them, occasionally turning until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, and gently pressing down on the meat to help ensure even browning. (The internal temperature of the meat should register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). Be careful; the oil will splatter!
- Do not overcrowd the skillet; the temperature of the oil will drop; adjust the heat as needed to keep the temperature at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (I recommend using a Deep Frying Thermometer).
- Remove with a fork and transfer the Marinera de Carne on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain excess oil before serving or transfer the Marinera to the sheet pan in the oven to keep warm. Let the oil temperature return to 350 degrees F before frying the remaining meat. Repeat the procedure with the remaining beef. Serve with “Fideo a la Manteca” Buttered Pasta. Yum!😍😋🍻
- There's no way to avoid the splattering that comes with frying Marinera, but coating with flour before dipping in the batter and a splatter screen can help. There will be some cleanup, but the meal will be worth it.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.