A friend asked me to post this recipe for Ropa Vieja (literally means "old clothes" in Spanish. This is a popular dish in Miami (where I grew up) and is cooked in the Canary islands (by Spain) and Latin America, specifically in places like Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, etc.
Ropa vieja is basically shredded beef in a tomato based sauce and it is delicious!
Every household is going to have their own recipe so I'm only sharing one of my ways of making it with the hopes that this will help some of you make and perfect your own version.
We are eating it for dinner tonight with some moro de trigo (bulgar wheat and red beans.. but you can eat with just about anything! I've even seen it stuffed in a bun and made into a sandwich.
- a large onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 lbs of flank steak
- 1/2 a green or red bell pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 chicken or beef bouillon cubes (the big ones)
- A 28 oz. can of crushed or pureed tomatoes
In a large pot over medium heat pour about 2 tablespoons of oil (I use canola or extra virgin olive). As the oil warms up chop your onion, garlic, and pepper. Add to oil and stir for 3-5 minutes until veggies are soft and translucent. Add the chicken or beef bouillon cubes and stir until the dissolve in the pot. Add the entire can of tomatoes and bay leaves. Now add the entire flank steak and submerge it in the sauce. Add a few cups of water until the flank steak is covered in the sauce completely. Bring to a boil. Then cover with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the meat can be easily shredded with a fork. I like to check the pot every 20-30 minutes or so to make sure it hasn't dried out. If you see the sauce reducing too low, add some more water to help cook and tenderizer the meat for shredding.
Ropa vieja can also be made in a slow-cooker or crock pot. Just let it go all day and the longer the meat simmers the easier it will shred.
I like to shred the meat by grabbing two forks and pulling the meat apart between the forks. Pull out the bay leaves before you serve and enjoy!