Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Litte Taste of Cuba: Ropa Vieja

I tried out a new recipe for you today! 

Aileen and I have been eating at a tasty Cuban restaurant in Louisville, Havana Rumba, since we both moved here for college. It is a wonderful place and everything on the menu is superb (especially their red sangria). Cuban food makes me a happy man.

One of their most popular entrees is a traditional dish called Ropa Vieja, which is translated as "old clothes." I know, that doesn't sound very appetizing at all. However, it is an accurate visual description: it sort of resembles a colorful pile of woven fibers in muddy water. Please, try to stop salivating. 

The dish is really shredded beef in a sauce of tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell peppers, and spices. It has the consistency of a very thick stew or chili. It is such a wonderful creation: the sauce simmers for an hour, making the beef fall apart into the sauce. The flavors of all of the ingredients combine into each other, with each bite becoming a taste of beefy-tomato-y heaven. So, I embarked upon a journey to make this dish in my kitchen...

It really wasn't very hard to prepare, so you should go make it for your loved ones... 

They will be impressed.

Ropa Vieja: 
(Serves 2)
1lb flank steak, cut into strips
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 small bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
dash of white wine or sherry
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water 

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, browning the meat on all sides. Remove it from the skillet, and add the remaining oil to skillet. Stir in the garlic, onion, and green pepper and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the browned meat, tomato sauce, water, wine, and spices. Simmer until the meat is tender and shreds easily, about 1 hour. Serve atop white rice. 

Enjoy. Every. Bite.

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