I don't have much of anything witty, educational, historical, autobiographical, or allegorical to share about today's recipe. I've been thinking about when I used to live in Miami and how I loved every minute of it. I wish I were there now: living on the beach, going to parties, eating my way through South Florida, living the good life. The people I met, the places I visited, it was always so awesome. If it wasn't so friggin' expensive, I'd probably still be there.
I made Ropa Vieja today. I posted about it back in February when Castro gave up his
throne leadership. This time I included pictures. This time I put my heart and soul into the pot. By using my hands to rip the tomatoes, I felt moved, like something out of Like Water For Chocolate (yes, I know they were Mexican in there, not Cuban).
Ropa Vieja Serves 1 or 2Ropa vieja means old clothes in Spanish. This meat is cooked, shredded like rags, then cooked again.
1/4 lb skirt or flank steak
1 carrot, shredded
1 small red onion, sliced
1 bay leaf (1 tsp ground bay leaf is OK)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large pinch, paprika
1 large pinch, chili powder
1 large pinch cumin or cumin seeds
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp cider or white vinegar
1-2 fresh tomatoes, not chopped, but ripped*
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Combine beef with garlic, vinegar, chili powder, paprika, cumin and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, mix well and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, no more than 24 hrs. When ready, put meat in a saucepan with, the onion, carrot, and bay leaf. Cover with vegetable broth/stock by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Skim, if needed.
When meat is very tender, remove from broth. Set aside. and strain broth through a sieve and discard vegetables. When meat is cool, cut off any fat and pull into shreds. Return broth and meat to heat. Add tomatoes, oregano, parsley, 1 tsp cumin. To rip the tomatoes, just squeeze them until the juices and seeds run into the pan. Rip the tomato, skin and all, into bite-sized pieces and let them fall into the pot. Don't forget to wash your hands afterwards! Simmer to reduce by half, about 20 - 30 minutes.
Serve with white or yellow rice.
I served mine over couscous seasoned with peas, garlic, and butter.