Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Ropa Vieja

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ropa Vieja

Ropa vieja, which is spanish for "old clothes" is Eric's favorite Cuban dish. It's shredded meat with peppers, onions, and tomato sauce - it really looks like a shredded mess of good food! His mother makes the very best, and I learned from her to make his favorite dish. You know the saying, "the way to a man's to feed him!!" My mother-in-law didn't give me the exact recipe, because she has made it for so long that there are no measurements! Use a little of this, lots of salt on this, one of this, put some of this, and some of, well - here's my recipe for this great hearty Cuban dish.
There are 2 parts to this dish, and the hardest component of this dish is braising the meat. I have a pressure cooker that helps tenderize the meat. It also cuts the time in half if I were to slow roast the meat or use a crockpot. Either way would work, but I highly recommend using a pressure cooker. This is the current one I use, Fagor 6-quart pressure cooker, which I purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Ropa Vieja (Adapted from my wonderful mother-in-law)
1 to 2 pound flank steak
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon of cumin
1 can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup of dry cooking wine
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
*Badia Salzon completo seasoning, I got this in the spanish market, and it's a mix of all the finishing touch that I add to give it that extra flavor**

*Place the 1 to 2 pound flank steak in the pressure cooker. Fill with water to about halfway of the pot. Pressure cook the meat until is very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the meat from the water, and place in a large bowl. You need to shred the meat into very thin slices, as pictured below. This process gets a little messy, and I always use my hands. Afterwards, heavily salt the meat about 2 tablespoons or so. Put the meat aside.

*In a large heated non-stick pan, add the EVOO. Add the onion, garlic, and peppers and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Add the shredded meat, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cumin, cooking wine, bay leaves and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Mix everything well. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. *Add Salzon Completo if available*
Serve with white rice, fried plantatains. It's the best authenic Cuban meal I make and I'm not cuban! lol
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