Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cubano Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja!  
     Ok, I know its hard to get excited about "shredded rope" but that is what "ropa vieja" translates too.  This is an interesting Cuban stew of tender, hand shredded beef.  Skirt steak and flank steak are the best cuts of beef for this recipe because of the long lean grain of the meat.  The flavor of this Cuban style stew is very mellow and comfortable.  
     Recipe:  Saute a piece of skirt steak (About 6 ounces of steak per portion) in a saute pan with a little bit of olive oil over medium high heat.  
     Flip the steak a few times so it browns evenly.  
     When the steak is caramelized to a light brown color, add three whole garlic cloves.  
     Continue cooking the steak till the garlic turns a golden color.  
     Add enough beef broth to completely cover the steak.  
     Add a pinch of crushed red pepper.
     Add a few pinches of paprika.
     Add black pepper and sea salt.
     Add a few pinches of ground coriander and cumin.  
     Bring the broth to a boil.  
     Turn the heat to low heat and cover the pot.  
     Simmer till the meat becomes very tender and it can be easily shredded.  (About 2 hours.) 
     Add a splash of water or broth as necessary while simmering.
     By the time the meat is cooked tender, the amount of broth should barely cover the meat.  
     Remove the meat from the broth and let it cool to room temperature.  
     Add a small handful each of thin julienne sliced onion, green bell pepper and red bell pepper to the simmering broth.  
     Add a green onion that is cut into long pieces to the stew.  
     Let the vegetables simmer while the meat is being shredded.  
     After the beef has cooled, shred the steak meat with your fingers.  Discard any fat.  The beef should look like shredded rope.  
     Add the shredded beef back to the stew.  
     Let the stew simmer till the vegetables become tender.  
     Check the seasoning of the broth.  
     The broth should have a nice cumin flavor.  
     Place the stew in a casserole dish and pour the broth over the meat and vegetables.  
     Serve with white rice and some sliced Cuban bread on the side.  Cuban bread is like a French baguette, but it has a much lighter crust.  
     The flavor of this stew is so very yummy!  Cubans tend to not use much hot chile pepper in their cooking, so this stew has a very savory flavor.  Cuban bread is great for soaking up the broth.  The tender shredded beef tastes so great with the peppers and onions in the cumin flavored broth.  I used to order this dish at a Cuban restaurant in Florida occasionally.  The restaurant would let this "shredded rope stew" simmer all day.  This is Cuban comfort food!  Yum!   .....  Shawna 

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