Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef In Tomato Sauce)

"Ropa Vieja" literally means "Old Clothes". It is called that because it is made from shredded beef therefore resembling shredded old clothes? I'm guessing here. "Ropa Vieja" is a very popular Cuban meat dish in Cuban households in USA, restaurants and it's over all cuisine.
"Ropa Vieja" is found in other Spanish speaking countries cuisines and can go under different names in other countries.

But I will show you the only version I know which is the Cuban version taught to me by grandmother and slightly adjusted because one of her Cuban friends seasons the stock differently and uses oregano. So this is like a mixture of her friends and my grandmas recipe along with my mom's take on it.

I LOVE IT! If there are any CUBANS reading this, please tell me how your family or you make Ropa Vieja, maybe I can make the ultimate Ropa Vieja some day LOL. I've noticed everyone does it slightly different.

Ingredients for boiling meat:
- 1 1/2 lbs. flank steak (essential_
-salt to taste (essential)
-water (enough to cover meat 1 inch or a little more)
-1-2 bay leaves (optional but I love it)
-1/2 Onion (optional)
-1/2 green bell pepper (optional)
-4 cloves of garlic peeled (optional
-1/2 tsp. oregano (optional)
-1/4- 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns (optional)

Ingredients for the rest of the dish:
-1/2 onion minced
-1/2 bell pepper minced
-4 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
-1 can 8 oz. tomato puree
-1 tsp. cumin (yes again I love cumin and so does my grandma)
-1/2 tsp. black pepper
-1 cups of beef broth (from where you boiled the meat for this dish)
-1/4- 1/2 cup minced cilantro or parsley (I had none but it makes the dish look very pretty)
-1/4-1/2 cup sliced black olives or spanish olives stuffed with Pimientos (optional)
-2 tablespoons capers (optional)

Directions for boiling meat:
(1)Add beef flank steak to a large pot, throw in water (enough to cover beef 1/2 to 1 inch deep into the water), and all the ingredients on the "Ingredients to boil meat"

(2)Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low for ATLEAST 1 hour I leave it anywhere from 1-2 hours. Take of the skum on top when nearly done.

(3)When time has passed, take the beef out, wait for it to cool a bit then cut into 3 inch tall steaks and shredd by hand or use 2 forks one to pull in one direction and one to pull the other direction so it comes out nicely. Set aside.
(4)Reserve liquid you cooked broth in, I suggest to strain the broth so it's pure and cleaner (I was to lazy to strain I just ladled it carefully later.

Directions for the rest of recipe:

(1)In a large pan heat generous amounts of olive oil on medium high heat. Sautee minced bell pepper, onion, and garlic until fragrant and onions are translucent about 5 more or less minutes.

(2)Add tomato puree stir well until it thickens. Add beef broth bring to a boil, add shredded beef, add small palm full of cumin, some salt to taste if needed. You can add sliced olives now so they give their flavor a bit to the dish. OR YOU CAN CHOOSE TO RESERVE THEM STRICTLY FOR MIXING IN TOWARDS END YOUR CHOICE
(3)Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
(4)Uncover stir and check if the sauce is to loose for your taste have no fear simply let it boil a little longer uncovered until it reaches the consistency you like.
(5)Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley fresh, cleaned and minced (optional I didnt have any in my fridge unfortunately.)

I ate my Ropa Vieja with some Rice to soak sauce and a large serving of "Col Con Mojo" (steamed cabbage smothered in Mojo de Ajo a type of garlic lime sauce)


MEL GT3 said...

thanks so much!!! it was really helpful!! I have been dying to eat this dish but there are no cuban/nicaraguan places around where I live :( but now I can make it!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm cuban and I LOVEEE Ropa Vieja. Its one of my favorite Cuban dishes :)

Karis said...

This is just too damn tasty! My first attempt and I loved it. Great Recipe.