Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cuban-Style Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja is, in translation from Spanish, "old clothes" - sounds appetizing, no? But it really is! This quintessential Cuban dish typically consists of shredded beef (usually flank steak, but I also like to use chuck) stewed with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and assorted seasonings, but nothing on the spicy side.  The shredded beef and peppers apparently look like a mass of shredded rags, hence the moniker "Ropa Vieja." I adapted this recipe from Emeril Lagasse's, which includes carrots to impart a nice touch of sweetness to this dish. 

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 fresh (or 2 dried) bay leaves
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced in half lengthwise
1 large onion, quartered
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 tsp. oregano leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

5 lbs. beef chuck or flank steak (leave whole)

1. Preheat oven to 250F.

2. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add the jalapeño, quartered onion, and garlic. Saute until lightly browned.

3. Add the tomatoes, carrots, oregano and 1 tsp. ground cumin.

4. Pour enough water to about 3/4 of the way up the meat (do not submerge). Add beef and season top with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Cover and roast in the oven 2-3 hours until tender. At this point, you can turn off the oven and let the beef sit overnight in the oven if you want to make this a two-day process.

5. Once the beef has cooled to room temperature (either same day or next day), remove the beef from the broth and place on a chopping board or large bowl.

6. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.

7. Shred the beef using your hands or using two forks. Set aside.

4-5 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1/4 cup dry white wine 8 oz. tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cups reserved beef broth

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and garlic and saute until translucent and lightly browned.

2. Add the bell peppers and saute for 2-3 minutes until just starting to soften.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes. 

4. Serve with white rice and garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.

Chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, onion, carrots, jalapeño, and garlic.

Boneless beef chuck roast.

Saute the onions, garlic, bay leaves and jalapeños in 2 tbsp. olive oil.

Add the carrots and tomatoes.

Season with oregano and cumin.

Pour water about 3/4 way up the meat (do not submerge).

Season the top of the meat with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Cover and roast in the oven 2-3 hours or until tender.

Let cool or even leave in oven (turned off of course) overnight. Skim off fat that has congealed on top.

Remove the meat to a bowl, then strain the broth.

Minced garlic, sliced onion, tomato sauce, chopped cilantro, sliced green bell pepper (you can use a combo of green and red peppers), ketchup.

Shred the cooled beef.

Saute the onions and garlic in 4-5 tbsp. olive oil until just starting to brown.

Add the bell peppers and white wine.

Add the tomato sauce and reserved beef broth.

Add the shredded beef.

Add the ketchup.

Stir in salt, black pepper, sugar, cumin, tomato paste, and cilantro.

I removed some of the cooked carrots from the original broth, lightly mashed them and returned them to the stew.

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