A few nights ago, we had old clothes for dinner - and it was delicious!
That meal was actually Ropa Vieja, which literally translates to "old clothes". I did a bit of research and found out that it was called such because the shredded beef in the recipe resembles old tattered clothes. All I can say is - this was the best old clothes I have ever had!
I looked at a hundred or so recipes of Ropa Vieja, and every recipe has something different to offer. I ended up just taking bits and pieces from each one, but I also tried to stay with the traditional way of preparing this Cuban dish. I even made Red Beans and Rice and Tostones to go with it. So good...
What you need:
1 pound flank steak
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced pitted green olives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon (Goya) adobo powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups beef broth
1 fresh tomato, diced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
What to do:
Coat a pan with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Brown your steak by cooking, one side at a time, for about 2 minutes. Remove steak from pan and set aside.
Place a pot or large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, then saute onion, garlic, and bell peppers for 7 minutes, or until tender. Stir in olives, salt and pepper, oregano, and adobo powder. Cook for 30 seconds, then stir in red wine vinegar and sherry, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until liquid almost evaporates.
Stir in broth, tomato, and bay leaves. Add the brown steak and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until steaks are very tender.
Remove steaks from pan and shred with two forks. Return the shredded beef in pan and add cilantro. Serve with rice and fried plantains.
Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. You can use 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste instead of a fresh tomato. It might also make your sauce a bit thicker.
2. Traditional recipe calls for more cilantro. I used only a bit because cilantro has a very strong taste.
3. If you don't have adobo powder, use ground cumin instead.