Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ropa Vieja

Spanish for "old clothes" Ropa Vieja is a popular Cuban dish of the most mouth watering, tender shredded beef. It is smothered in a rich, mildly spicy sauce of tomato, peppers, onions, garlic and an amazing West Indies style spice combination, cooked low and slow until thick and smooth. I remember this dish vividly from my youth as I spent many of my early years in Key West. Cuban cuisine is influenced by the West Indies and Caribbean with spices like cloves, allspice and paprika. I have used these classic spices in my version of this dish and tempered them with the classic flavors of cumin and oregano. Instead of the extreme heat of habanero peppers found in much of the Caribbean cuisine, I have spiced this with cayenne pepper but if that's the heat you like please feel free to use that instead. This is unlike any Ropa Vieja you've ever had and is a true inspiration from the cultural diversity of Miami. Perfect for your Super Bowl XVIL party as an entree or serve in smaller portions as a snack. It is pictured with deep fried corn tortillas. I hope you enjoy.

Ropa Vieja


3 lb. flank steak
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup green bell peppers, diced
1 cup red bell peppers, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup onion, diced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 - 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
2 cups low sodium beef stock
salt and pepper

Season flank steak with salt and pepper if desired. Sear the beef on both sides in a large heavy bottom, dutch oven or cast iron pot over medium high heat in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Transfer to plate.

Saute the bell peppers, garlic and onion in the other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tomato paste and spices and stir to cook. Add the beef stock and diced tomatoes. Add the flank steak back into pot. If needed, add water to cover beef.
Bring to a simmer, partially cover and reduce heat. Simmer for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the beef is fork tender and the vegetables have disintegrated and thickened the sauce. Remove beef, shred with fork and return to sauce and blend together.

Nutrition Facts
12 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 222.2
Total Fat 11.0 g
Saturated Fat 4.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 56.7 mg
Sodium 223.2 mg
Potassium 675.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 2.4 g
Protein 24.4 g

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