Ropa vieja is one of my favorite things to order at Cuban restaurants. It’s stewed, shredded beef in a tomato-y sauce served over rice. When I saw this version in Saveur, I had to try it.
It has been really warm in L.A. lately, so I started mine in a large skillet, then transferred it to the slow-cooker to simmer. If you want to simmer it on the stove, simmer it for 2-3 hours instead of 4, and start the process in a large dutch oven. I served this with white rice and black beans.
Adapted from Saveur, April 2012
4 oz bacon, diced
1 1/2 lbs flank steak (cut into a few pieces so it can be handled easily)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 Anaheim chili, thinly sliced
6 oz tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 c red wine
2 c beef stock
14-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 c sliced green olives
1/3 c sliced jarred pimientos
2 T capers
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
In a large skillet over medium heat, render the bacon fat until the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan (transfer to slow-cooker, if using).
Season the flank steak with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, brown the steak in bacon fat on both sides, then remove it and place it in the slow-cooker.
Saute the onions and peppers in the remaining fat, until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste, cumin, thyme, oregano, garlic, and bay leaf, cook for another 3 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan.
Place the onion mixture in the slow-cooker with the beef and bacon. Add the crushed tomatoes and beef stock to the slow-cooker. Cook on High setting for 4 hours.
Remove the steak and shred the meat.
Return the shredded meat to the slow-cooker with the olives, pimientos, and capers. Cook for 30 more minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.