Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday and What There Was to Stew

Yes, I know today is normally fried chicken and chocolate cake day, but Pan knows, one can not live by cake and chicken alone.  Or ... I'm getting confused.  Of course you can live on that alone!

In any case, I just want you to know that despite what the pictures below suggest, this post is not sponsored by Goya (oh boya!) though several products from that brand makes this a particularly simple recipe to make at home.

Ropa Vieja is a long cooked dish of shredded beef in a savory sauce.  I know it to be a Cuban dish, but wikipedia tells me otherwise.  Apparently, it has its origins in 12th century Sephardic Jewish community in Spain.  Its name Ropa Vieja translates as old clothes, because the shreds of meet looks like old rags.
Regarding the beef, I see various recipes using flank steak and such, but I don't think it requires an expensive cut.  For what you see in this post, I'm using chuck (about 3 pounds).

While the oven is being pre-heated to 350 degrees (F), pound out the beef with a meat mallet until about an inch thick.  Sprinkle with salt, ground pepper and onion powder.  In a heavy bottomed wide pot (oven proof, please!), brown the beef pieces in olive oil.  Remove the beef and reserve.
Drain the pot of excess fat and add 1/2 cup of sofrito.  I make a giant batch at home and freeze portions, but you can also buy ready made sofrito.  Sofrito is an aromatic seasoning mixture of onions, peppers (I use cubanelle, and bell peppers), tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and culantro.  I can't ever find culantro in my market, so I use extra cilantro.  Recipe here.

In the pot, add the sofrito and add a 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.  Or more.  I like the taste of cumin.  Stir around in the pot and scrape up all the brown bits clinging on the bottom of your pot and mix into the sofrito and cumin.
Once that mixture is well incorporated, I add in 1/2 cup of pitted salad olives (green olives and pimentos).  2 8oz cans of tomato sauce and about 2 cups of water is added into the pot.  Toss in a few bay leaves and add in your reserved browned beef.
Once the pot comes back up to boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and put into the oven to slowly cook for about 2 to 2.5 hours until the beef is tender and falling apart.  Like so:
Remove the meat and shred the beef.  You can allow it to cool slightly enough to handle, or use forks to shred the meat up.
Add the shredded meat back into the sauce and add diced carrots (3-4 carrots) and celery (2-3 stalks).  Cook on the stove top until the vegetables are just tender.  Then add a cup or so of frozen peas.  It will cook through very quickly.
I serve it with yellow rice, with a little garnish of fresh cilantro.
Ropa Vieja freezes really well.  It also tastes even better when reheated and served the next day.  I am using a recipe from Daisy Cooks!, which is a really awesome cookbook.

Burp.  What are you cooking up this Sunday evening?

15 comments :

  1. Gimme some of that beef stew!!! Seriously, woman. Today was a break from dinner cooking, but I'm making an egg salad/spread thingy with lots of Polish mayo and green onions for supper. And we have fresh sourdough from Maison Kayser :)

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    1. What is polish mayo? I like all fatty things! :) Have you by chance tried Japanese kewpie mayo? I think they add msg to make it extra savory.

      A gorgeous crusty sourdough bread sounds amazing. I bet a piece would be excellent dipped into the ropa vieja sauce. :D

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  2. Ooh! This looks lovely. I love the transition into Fall, because I'm finally able to cook things like this again without wanting to kill myself and everyone who comes near me.

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    1. Exactly! Turning on the oven makes me sweaty and grumpy. In this weather, it toasts up the house and makes it smell really nice.

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  3. Sofrito!! Now we are talkin'... My next-door-neighboor is Spanish, as in from Valencia, Spain. She taught me how to make sofrito, and yes, she indeed has batches of sofrito in her freezer, from when her mom visited her here for the first time. They use sofritos in everything, including morning bread, eggs, soups, etc. It's almost like a version of pesto for the Italians, I guess. I must try this recipe for our next pot-luck get-together. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Sofrito is marvelous stuff! Does your neighbor invite you over for valencia paella? :)~~~ drool. I like it mixed with neutral oil & lots of salt/pepper to make a marinade for meats for grilling. It also makes an excellent sauce to serve with meats when mixed with an acid (lime or vinegar), oil, s/s. I add in a plop to boxed yellow rice kits, etc etc. Such yummy!

      :) Hope you get to try this out soon, Claire!

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    2. Oh yes, the paella is a production -- my neighbor has a pan as big as a truck's wheel, but she said that in Valencia, they cook paella without seafood (usually chicken in her family). Anyhow, I doubt I'll do that on my own anytime soon but we are v. lucky indeed to have her close by for a few paella dinners.

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    3. Homemade paella.... sounds so good. I think in Valencia rabbit is often used. The idea of cooking rice in an open pan in a giant pan sounds very intimidating to me.

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  4. Ggrrrrrrrrrowwwlll!! That's my stomach protesting as to why I dont feed it yummy things like this everyday! Must try your recipe out one day soon =D

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    1. :((( I don't eat like this every day EITHER! sadly! But a big batch like this will last several days and so so so good when reheated. Do try it!

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  5. oh burp. buuuurpp. burp.
    i need to make this.... will it work without the olives? not fond of 'em...

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    1. You can definitely take out the olives. Maybe add chopped pimentos (for color?). You need to love cilantro big time though. :)

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  6. I have been having zero appetite lately but man this recipe sounds so delish! I'm just staring at that last pic with the yellow rice ohhhh my...

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