Happy New Year everyone!
I have a little secret: I LOVE ME SOME CUBAN FOOD! I grew up in Miami, where the cuban culture is abundant, and even though I'm not cuban, I absolutely just love their food.
Now that I live in Texas, where the main latin dishes are mexican, I literally have been in a "missing cuban food shock".
There are a "few" cuban restaurants here in the Dallas area, but quite honestly, they just don't feel authentic to me, maybe because they are not located in an old, run down shopping center, with salsa music pouring out of the open doors ;) So other than buying myself a flight ticket to Miami for dinner time, I had to look up some recipes online, that I thought looked close to what I remembered.
Enter the ropa vieja, or old clothes, as this dish is called. I found this recipe here, and let me tell you, it is drool worthy goodness, just how I remembered it back home, and quite honestly, I can't believe that I was able to duplicate it (so if I can do it, any one can):
2 Onions, chopped, separated
1 Green pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, separated
Steak (skirt is recommended, but I have used sirloin and chuck roast)
1 can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 red cooking wine
3 cans beef broth
1 tsp salt
5 tsp butter
2 tbsp Sofrito (this is an optional ingredient, and the only reason I added it was because I had it on hand, not all supermarkets carry it, if they do, it will be in the latin food section)
Vegetable oil (to fry plantains in)
You also will need a Crock Pot
|Here is a picture of the sofrito I used|
Add the 3 cans of beef broth, along with one chopped onion, a whole garlic clove, and the steak to your Crock Pot, I leave mine on high from early morning, until I'm ready to start on dinner.
Once you are ready to start dinner, take the steak out, and use forks to shred the meat, and set aside.
Next, sauté the onion, green pepper, and garlic cloves (minced) in butter, until the onions are translucent, add more butter if needed:
In the meantime, cut up the plantains. There are two types of plantains that I like to use, one is the green one, this makes the crispy, plantains (tostones). The other one will be a more yellow/black color, this one is used to make maduros, or the soft, sweet plantains, this is the one I am making for this recipe (hint: buy them a week before you make this dish, the plantain will look more black then yellow, and might not look appetizing from the outside, but trust me, this is how you want them, they will be softer and sweeter )
|This is the plantain, but you want it darker than this.|
After the veggies are done, add the shredded meat, and mix well. Add the wine, salt, tomato sauce, bay leaf, pimientos, and sofrito, mix well. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. I fry the plantains in the vegetable oil for about 10-15 minutes, until they are all brown.
Remove plantains, and place on a paper towel covered dish, to soak up the oil (btw, don't ever drain oil in your sink, I have seen what it does, and it is not good, I usually let it cool off, and dispose of it in an empty glass bottle)
Remove the ropa vieja, and serve over white rice, with the maduros:
|Don't eat the bay leaf please.|
Hope you have a great week, and very happy New Year!
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