The Recipes

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja means "Old Clothes" in Spanish, and is thusly called because of the shredded meat.  There are many cuts of meat you could use in making this dish.  I opted for flank steak for it's texture and how easy it shreds after cooking for a long time, but feel free to get creative.  Like many Mexican dishes, I feel that this is a dish you can personalize and play around with to change the flavor profile.

Ropa Vieja


Ingredients:

- 1 8-10 oz. piece of flank steak
- 1 dried ancho chile pepper
- 1 c. of beef stock
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 c. worstershire sauce
- 1/2 of a 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 2 T. cumin
- olive oil
- salt
- pepper
- 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
-1/2 c. black beans (optional)
- 1/4 avocado (optional)
- 2 small whole wheat tortillas (optional)

Season the steak with salt and pepper.  In a pot big enough to fit the piece of steak, heat 1-2 T. of olive oil.  Cook for 3-4 minutes per side to get a nice brown crust.  Add in the worstershire and stock.  Cover and let the meat simmer for 2 hours.

After two hours, remove the stem from the dried chile and add it to the pot.  It will reconstitute and flavor the stock.

In a second pot, heat 1-2 T. of olive oil.  Add the onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno.  Season with salt and let them cook for 7-8 minutes.  Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so.  Add in the tomatoes and cumin and season again with salt and pepper.

Remove the chile pepper and steak from the stock.  Roughly chop the chile and add it to the tomato mixture.  Set the meat aside.  Pour the stock into the tomato mixture.  Stir and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer the sauce back to the pot and taste it.  Season a little bit more if you want.

Shred the meat with two forks and add it back into the sauce.  Let it simmer for another five minutes while you prepare whatever you want to go with it.

Rice or crusty bread are good options, as well as making a light salsa to go on top.  Like I said, do whatever tickles your fancy.  I heated up some black beans and diced some avocado, and heated two tortillas on the stove.  Serve with a few lime wedges.