Cuban Style Ropa Vieja is very similar to preparing a traditional Mexican Carne Deshebrada dish (Shredded Beef). Both are prepared with flank steak and are typically cooked low and slow in a sauce. For today’s recipe I wanted to do my best at preparing an authentic Cuban Ropa Vieja with the ingredients available to me. Lucky for me, there is a good size Cuban and Puerto Rican community where I live in central New York and Goya products are abundant! Just to state for the record, I am No authority of Cuban food, I just know that I love all the flavors and love learning about new cuisines. This is a great recipe to prepare for a large family style dinner or for make ahead freezer meals. Not only great served over rice, but extra tasty for flautas, tacos and burritos as well. Simple, fresh ingredients and spices are the base and a great start to preparing any of your favorite cuisines. Challenge yourself and try a new recipe from a different ethnic back round. You may just be pleasantly surprised with the results!
Ropa Vieja Nachos were bound to happen! I layer rice and beans first, then salsa, chips, ropa vieja(shredded beef) and Chihuahua Cheese! Under the broiler for a few minutes and ready!
For Garlic/Mojo Sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
3 full tablespoons of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste
2 1/2 pounds flank steak cut into 4 pieces
For Sofrito Tomato Base
1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
1 large green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 small red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 ful tablespoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons annatto powder
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Bijol coloring/seasoning or turmeric
28 oz can whole tomatoes (crush with hands before adding)
6 oz tomato paste
1 cup Goya brand cooking wine
2 cups water
3 full tablespoons chicken base powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste and 2 bay leaves
1. In the blender, combine all of the ingredients to prepare the garlic/mojo sauce. Blend on high until smooth, taste for salt and set aside.
2. Now, if you are feeling adventurous, you could pressure cook that flank steak with the garlic/mojo sauce in 90 minutes! It will be the most tender, fall apart flank steak you have ever seen. Or, you could cook it for 4 to 6 hours on high in the crock pot. Whichever way you decide to cook it, you want the beef to be tender before adding it to the tomato base.
3. For 5 quart pressure cooker method: Add the beef and garlic/mojo sauce to the pot. Secure the lid and heat to medium/high heat. As soon as the safety lock seals, set your timer for 90 minutes, reduce heat to low. When ready, carefully remove from burner and wait until the safety valve releases to unlock the the lid. Shred the beef, cover and set aside. Skim most of the fat off remaining broth from beef and set aside.
4. In a large pot at medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 8 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients in the order listed, stirring as you go until all is well combined. Add the shredded beef and beef broth reserved from cooking the beef into the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for a good 40 to 50 minutes or until the sauce thickens and reduces slightly.
Tips~ As a last minute add-in, I sliced some pimento stuffed queen olives, about 1/3 cup and added them in. The peas were added in as a garnish on the second day and were not cooked in the ropa vieja.
You can find the recipe for Quick Cuban Style Black Beans right here on my blog site. Just search Cuban foods under categories.
To Prepare Tostones
Add some crispy plantain Tostones to the dish to make it extra special! Using a small knife, score the green plantain and peel. Using a sharp knife slice the plantain into 1 inch thick slices(6 pieces). Fry in canola oil heated to 350ºF. Drain onto paper towels. Using a tostonera or a flat bottomed bowl, flatten the tostones and fry a second time until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt as soon as they come out of oil. Serve right away.