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Ropa Vieja

Posted in : beans, beef, chicken, dinner, easy, food history, foreign, History, pork, rice, Slow cooker on by : Jeanette Rueb Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This recipe is one of my childhood favorites. Here’s a big thanks  to my mom for sending me her recipe for it, since I currently am having a hard time cooking (and typing and doing most things that involve two hands) since my “sprained” wrist turned out to be fractured. I’ll do my best to keep on top of posts, regardless of hand mobility, but original recipes may be put on hold for a bit until I regain use of my dominant wrist.

Anyway, a bit of history surrounding the dish:
“Ropa vieja” is a Caribbean dish whose name translates to “old clothes.” It originated in the Canary Islands, off the western coast of Morocco, and the recipe originally used leftovers instead of the current meat, skirt steak or flank steak. The dish is traditionally served with rice and beans, with the meat in a tomato-based sauce. Now, it’s considered a traditional dish in Panama, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, as well as in the Canary Islands.

One of the best things about this dish is that you can make it with most any meat, though beef, pork, and chicken are the most common. My mom’s recipe uses beef, but as long as your protein has long strands, it’ll work just fine. It’s a slow cooker recipe, too, so it can be one of those meals that you prep the night before, toss together before you leave for work, and have a nice meal waiting for you when you get home!

Maps are always helpful

2 tbsp Olive oil
1.5 lb Flank steak
1/4 cup Dry vermouth
3 oz Tomato paste
4 oz Tomato sauce
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Green peppers, de-seeded and cut into large strips
1 large Cooking onion (not sweet onion), cut into large strips
1 tbsp Cumin
3.5 oz Goya brand Alcaparrado (Pitted green olives, pimientos and capers)
1 box Goya brand Spanish rice

Salt and pepper flank steak to taste. Coat a pan with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add garlic to the pan and sear the meat. Remove the meat from the pan and cut it into thirds. Place the meat in the crock pot and immediately deglaze the pan with the vermouth (add wine to the pan and scrape the goodies off the surface). Pour the wine into the crock pot with the meat. Add the remaining ingredients (except the rice) to the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

About half an hour before you’re ready to serve, shred the meat with two forks. Turn the crock pot off and let the shredded meat sit in the juices to soak them up. In the meantime, cook your rice. When everything is done, serve your meat over the rice and enjoy!

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