Weekly Winner:  “Old Clothes” never tasted so good.

Yep, that’s what we ate this weekend.  Old Clothes.  It was better than you might expect.  Actually, it was Ropa Vieja the Cuban stewed beef recipe which means “Old Clothes”.  I suspect that’s because everything is stewed and shredded like rags.  Very tasty rags, I might add.

There is a fabulous Cuban restaurant by us which obviously has Ropa Vieja on the menu.  I’ve had it there and it is incredible, but I always assumed it was a long, laborious affair to make. That, and I’ve never found a good recipe for it.  Then I come across a slow cooker version and lo and behold…. I’m hooked! This is truly a succulent dish.  A bit sweet, a bit salty, but all around wonderful.

The recipe comes from Cooking Light Magazine and you couldn’t ask for a cozier dish on a cool November night.  Just as you’d reach for your favorite old sweatshirt to get comfy, I’ll “reach” for this dish again and again.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1-1/2 lb flank steak

3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided

1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided

1 cup sliced white onion

1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 cup beef stock

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1/3 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, halved

hot cooked rice for serving. (The original recipe called for only 3 cups — you’ll definitely want more if you’re serving 6!)

Procedure:

  1. Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray
  2. Heat 2 tsps oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cut steak into quarters.  Sprinkle steak evenly with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper; add steak to pan.  Cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.  Transfer steak to slow cooker.  Add remaining 1 tsp oil, onion, bell peppers and garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes or until slightly softened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in raisins; transfer onion mixture to slow cooker.
  3. Combine stock, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, tomatoes, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp black pepper in a medium bowl.  Pour tomato mixture over steak and vegetables in slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours and 15 minutes or until steak is very tender.
  5. Remove steak from cooker; shred using 2 forks.  Stir steak and olives into sauce.  Serve steak mixture over rice.
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