Beef Pares, or Pares (pronounced pah res) for short Beef Pares, literally means paired beef—pares is Pilipino for pair, from the Spanish pareja. Braised beef is paired with fried rice and soup to make a complete meal. The dish is similar to the popular Chinese Beef Brisket with the distinct flavor of star anise.
Beef Pares is one of those dishes that we replicated at home from recipes researched from the Internet and confirmed from gustatory memories. My son had his first Pares when he was studying. The best Pares, they say, is in the nearby areas of Mayon, Retiro, and Dapitan. Pares, after all, is a popular economy lunch usually served in neighborhood carinderias and office/school canteens. It is so flavorful—a little goes a long way—that’s why.
He recalls taking his Dad to Jonas—one of the most popular Pares joints, claiming to be the originator of the dish—twice when they went to Banaue in search of car replacement parts. During their first visit, my husband ordered, in addition to Pares, a dish with sweet-and-sour sauce which gave him a bum stomach. The second time around, he learned his lesson and stuck to Pares.
I had my first visit to Jonas a few months ago when my daughter and her family were in town. We were on our way to the water spa nearby. Their Pares did not disappoint, I realized we made a very good copycat at home.
Beef Pares | Braised Beef Stew
Beef and Soup
- 1 to 1½ kg beef brisket uncut
- 2 beef cubes
- 1 large onion peeled and quartered
- 1 stalk leek sliced
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- Pinch peppercorns
- Pinch salt
- ¼ cup dark soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 inch ginger peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large onion minced
- 2 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water (optional)
- 1 cup chopped spring onions
- 2 Tbsp fried garlic
- Make the beef and soup: Place the beef, beef cubes, onion, leek, garlic, peppercorn, and salt in a stockpot. Add 10 to 12 cups of water to generously cover; bring to boil over high heat, skimming off scum. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered, for 1 to 2 hours, until beef is tender.
- Remove beef from stock; set aside to cool completely. Cut into cubes. Set aside 2 cups of the stock for the sauce. Strain the remaining stock and return the strained stock into the stockpot. Keep warm—this will be the accompanying soup.
- Make the sauce: Combine soy sauce and sugar in a large bowl. Marinate brisket for 30 minutes. Remove beef from marinade; reserve the marinade.
- Make the sauce: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger, stir for about 1 minute, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Add garlic, stir for about 1 minute, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Add onion, stir for about 2 minutes, or until soft. Add beef, stir for 3 to 5 minutes, until browned. Add the reserved 2 cups of stock, the reserved marinade, star anise, and bay leaf; bring mixture to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes, until sauce is reduced and starts to thicken. Stir in cornstarch; simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until thick.
- Serve beef on top, or with a side, of garlic fried rice; garnish with spring onions and fried garlic. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with spring onions and fried garlic and serve on the side.