This is one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. Dane had ordered Ropa Vieja at a Cuban restaurant we frequent in Jamaica Plain. After taking my friend Heather to the restaurant, she told us her dad makes amazing Ropa Vieja, and graciously volunteered to get us the recipe. All I can say is THANK YOU HEATHER!
Dane tends to be the one who does slow cooker/meat based meals for us. Maybe it’s a man thing, but I’m definitely ok with letting him cook while I relax and do things like write blog posts about him cooking.
Ropa Vieja (which, not to be gross, literally translated means “old clothes”)
- 1 1/2 pounds flank steak (You can also use skirt steak or brisket. We actually couldn’t find any of those things, so we used top sirloin.)
- 3 quarts plus 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons bouillon granules
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 medium onions, sliced thin
- 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced thin
- 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- Bay leaves
- Seasoning: salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder
Add the meat, water, and some salt and pepper to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Foam will form on the surface, make sure you skim that off and get rid of it. After 5 minutes or so, add the garlic powder, bouillon, and parsley flakes, and onion powder and reduce the heat. Cover the pot partially and let the meat cook over medium-low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. You want to be able to easily shred the meat once it’s done. Dane cooked ours for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Your kitchen will smell AMAZING, but try and restrain yourself from eating it just yet. It gets better.
Remove your meat from the pot and shred with a fork. I had a little too much fun with it and decided to just use my hands to separate it. Put the meat together, cover and set aside for the moment.
In a big skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until they start to become translucent. Add the peppers and garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Now add the tomato sauce, stir it all together, and let it begin to bubble. Add the wine, vinegar, some salt and pepper, the garlic and onion powder, and bay leaves. Stir together and add 1/4 cup water. Let it come to a boil, the lower the heat and let is simmer for 5-10 minutes.
At this point I started making some yellow rice and beans to go with the main dish. This was the only part of the meal I was allowed to help with (which was fine with me). All I did was boil some water, add the rice and seasoning (that was all from the same bag) and follow the directions. Then I drained and rinsed some red beans, and added them to the rice when there was bout 5 minutes left for it to cook, just so the beans would be heated.
Back to Dane’s part. Add the meat to the pan with your veggies and stir together. Simmer this delicious mix for about 30 minutes, covered.
After a half hour, you’re all done! Time to eat! Serve with or over the yellow rice and beans. And make room, because you’ll probably want more.