Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ropa Vieja

A few years ago, we had dinner with friends and they made us a lovely Cuban dish called Ropa Vieja (Spanish for "Old Clothes").

I had forgotten about it until I ran across a bunch of recipes for the dish while searching the internet for something to cook in my pressure cooker.

Now I have to wonder how I could have forgotten this delicious stew!

As always, I add a little of this and that and change most recipes, but I found the base recipe on the Food Network.

I'll include the regular recipe and tell you what I did in my version.

Ingredients for Ropa Vieja

1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck stew meat
(I used closer to 3 lbs, what I had on hand)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
(I didn't measure, but I used a LOT more)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
(again, I didn't measure, but LOTS more)
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Olive Oil
1 14 oz can whole tomatoes
(Mine, this plus about 3 cups fresh, chopped)
2 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
(Mine, about 5 large carrots)
1 large onion, halved and sliced
(I diced the onions)
-Actually Terry diced the onions-
3 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
(Mine, about a dozen cloves)
1 bay leaf
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper diced
(Mine, 5 red bell peppers)
1/2 cup halved pimento stuffed green olives
(Mine, about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

LOTS of ingredients, but well worth it.

Now on to cooking . . .

Make sure the meat is dry, so the spices stick better. Season the meat with the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper, then brown well in olive oil. Use lots of spice, this is the basis for the yummy broth.

When all the meat is brown and crusty (you may have to do this in batches), add the tomatoes, carrots, onions, tomato paste, half your garlic, a bay leaf and 1 1/4 cups water.

Now I made mine in a pressure cooker, but I'm sure this could be made in a slow cooker, or on top of the stove. In a pressure cooker, bring it up to high, and when your pressure is up, lower the heat to keep it at medium high for about half an hour. You want the meat to be nice and tender.

While this is cooking, saute the bell peppers and remaining garlic in a bit of olive oil.

When the meat is done, stir in the cooked peppers, the olives and the fresh parsley.

Now, be prepared to sit down to a flavor combination the likes of which you wont believe. When I make this again (and I will be making it again), I'll leave out the parsley, because I've decided that fresh parsley is disgusting, but that's a personal decision. I will also add even more garlic, probably a few potatoes and maybe more carrots (Terry loves carrots).

Serve this with some fresh hot No Knead Bread and I can guarantee that you'll be adding this your recipe book.



Jonna said...

mmm... not to be picky but it is Ropa Vieja not Ropo. Just thought you'd want to know.

It's a wonderful dish, one of my favorites.

Kate said...

Thank You Jonna! I bow to your superior Spanish and have changed it.


Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious Kate....I'd love a picture of the finished product....please!

Linda & Mando

Kate said...

Linda and Mando

It's a stew, not an interesting picture at all (which is why I didn't post a picture).

Tasted great though.