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Carne Encebollada – Filipino Beef Pot Roast in Onions

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“This dish, Carne Encebollada- Filipino Beef Pot Roast in Onions, is my ‘pambato’ “ my cousin Lyn said in her email. In Pilipino, ‘pambato’ (say ‘pahm-bah-toh’) means a signature dish, one you have bragging rights to, or the one that defines you, the dish expected of you when there is a party. It is your badge of honor.

This email came to me from half a world away, over 8,000 miles in distance and more than 17 hours in flight time from the east coast of the United States to the Philippines. Most of my recipes are from family, passed around from different generations. After my mom, I leaned on my network of cousins for my recipe sources. One of them is  Lyn Besa Gamboa, who lives in Silay City, Philippines, a region south of Manila. Here’s a delightfully easy beef recipe I learned from her. It’s called ‘Carne Encebollada’ and she described it in an email:

“ I learned this recipe from a Gaston friend:  simple, saute finely sliced onions in butter until slight brown,  brown meat also in the onions  and then pour white wine. Of course, salt and freshly ground pepper.  I do this in a Le Creuset or any waterless cooker.  Best for you maybe to shove in the oven until meat is tender.  Like most cooks, I don’t measure. Love, Lyn”

Carne Encebollada is Spanish which translates to ‘meat with onions’. One thing is for sure, if it’s a Filipino recipe with a Spanish-sounding name, then this is clearly the Hispanic influence on Philippine culture. Manay Lyn (say ‘mah-nay’, a term of respect for an elder female relative in the Philippines) sent me an email suggesting I cook this for a family dinner.

After cooking this ‘Carne Encebollada’, I could see why this dish defined her. It was perfect from start to finish, yet it was so easy, it was impossible to mess up. This was sheer easy cooking, even for any kitchen novice. I knew it was nearly cooked when I could hear the simmering broth in the pot bubbling away and I sniffed at the beef- wine aroma that was flowing around fast and furious in the kitchen. When I took it out of the pot and started to slice, the burgundy colored beef nearly fell apart at first touch because it was so tender. I paired this Carne Encebollada with my son Tim’s own signature Homemade Mashed Potatoes, topped the whole entrée with fried onion rings and decided this, too, was going to be my ‘pambato’ from here on. Thanks for the inspiration, Manay Lyn!

It’s nice to have cousins and family back home in the Philippines within an email or phone call away to tap on when I need a recipe!



Carne Encebollada - Filipino Beef Pot Roast in Onions

Carne Encebollada is a splendid Filipino beef pot roast cooked in a broth flavored with onions and wine. All you need is a good beef cut like bottom round with good marbling. Season and marinate for a few hours. Then saute the onions and beef in butter. Yes, all of it goes into the large stock pot. After cooking the stew in a slow simmer the result was spectacular. I’ve cooked this several times since I first learned how. I’ve cooked it in a slow cooker, and on a separate occasion, I’ve made this stove top. This one in the photo was cooked in the slow cooker and the meat just cooked by itself, hardly needing my attention. This recipe was inspired by my cousin Lyn Besa Gamboa, and it serves 4 to 6.
Prep Time1 day
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time1 day 3 hours
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino, Spanish
Keyword: Filipino Carne Encebollada Beef Pot Roast Onions
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Asian in America


  • 4 pounds whole beef bottom round
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce for marinade
  • 2 cloves garlic minced, for marinade
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter half a stick
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 whole large white or yellow onions sliced
  • 2 to 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
  • for serving: homemade mashed potatoes
  • for garnish: fried onion rings


  • Marinate the whole beef cut with Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • The next day, in a large Dutch oven, over medium high heat, add the oil and butter. Saute the onions. Cook for 2 minutes  till onions are translucent.
  • Add the beef and sear over the high heat till it is browned all over, for 8 minutes. Pour the broth, wine, salt and black pepper. Lower heat to a slow simmer. Cook beef till tender for 2 hours or more if needed.
  • When done, slice and serve hot. Serve with homemade mashed potatoes. (See my previous blog post for recipe) Top with fried onion rings.
  • Cook's comments : If cooking beef in a slow cooker, first pan sear the onions and beef in a large skillet on the stove top. When the onions are translucent and the beef has browned all over after about 8 minutes, transfer the beef and onions into a slow cooker. Add the wine, broth and seasonings. Turn slow cooker on 'High' settings and cook for 6 hours or till beef is tender.
  • Hello, Friends! All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos and  recipe content I wrote, on your website,books, films, television shows or videos  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe or content on another website, video, news article,or media outlets mentioned above please ASK my permission, re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


Serving: 1g | Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 1174mg | Potassium: 141mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-QuirinoBuy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

Disclosure: Instant Pot is the brand name of a multi-cooker that cooks in high and low pressure. I was not paid by the Instant Pot company to mention the product or brand nor endorse it. This is not an ad. My views and opinions are my own.


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  1. This looks so delicious and would indeed be a wonderful Sunday dinner with family and friends. I have this book marked as a must try dish.. thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Thanks, Liza! Your kind comments are just as heartwarming as this dish. Yes, it will make a delightful Sunday supper for you and your family. Let me know how yours turns out. Share photos of the dish on my Facebook page when you get the chance 🙂

    1. Thanks, Nami. So kind of you to say that. This beef dish was truly comfort food. I’m so blessed to have cousins and family I can count on for trusted recipes !

    1. Hi, Paula! That’s wonderful to hear that you have a Carne Encebollada version in Argentina. I have heard so many wonderful things about your cuisine and country, someday I hope to experience it all in person. Thanks for the nice comments & blog visit 🙂

    1. Hi Rosie, yes you can try using red wine, about half a cup first. The wine always enhances the beef’s flavor. For red wine, your beef will have a reddish, dark maroon look at the end of cooking.

  2. Wow, to think I have been cooking this for years and did not realize it was so fancy! Seriously a friend said she was going yo serve this to me so I looked it up and surprise!!

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