Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ropa Vieja


 After spending less than a year in her first apartment, Jenn is currently in the process of moving into a new one, due to a fortuitous change of sales territory.  Since last Wednesday, it seems as if she has been in one stage or another in the moving process.  The "highlight" of this adventure came when she and I chose not to take apart her couch but rather keep in it intact.  We lugged it down from the second floor, loaded it in the minivan, drove it from one small town to another, and hauled it up two narrow flights of stairs only to have to disassemble it to get it through her doorway! Yesterday found me battling yet another piece of Ikea furniture, and this particular dresser was winning the war.  I was tired, achy, frustrated, and hungry.  Jenn's new place in within walking distance of several cute little places to eat.  I set off to find a sensible salad, but instead found myself drawn to a charmingly simple place that had the menu items written on a chalkboard.  One of the offerings listed was Ropa Vieja, a satisfying stew. Translated from Spanish, it means "old clothes" which might either indicate that the ingredients resemble colorful pieces of cloth or the fact that it can be made with leftover meat. The Caribbean version usually uses flank or skirt steak, but the Spanish one uses any meat - pork, chicken, beef - along with eggplant and chickpeas.  I ditched my plan for a salad and opted instead for the Roba Vieja - definitely more of a reward!  It's usually served with rice, but I made some mashed yucca to go with it instead. 



1 pound leftover beef shredded or cubed (flank steak or a roast)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 sliced onion

2 sliced peppers, different colors

1/4 cup matchstick or sliced carrots     

1 small jalapena, seeded and diced

                     2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed                    

1 (15 oz.) can of beef broth

1 (15 oz.) can of diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoon sliced green olives

Lime for squeezing


Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the onion, peppers, carrots, and jalapeno until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Take out the bay leaf before serving. This is usually eaten on top of rice with some crusty bread to soak up the sauce. However, if you watch carbs as I do, it's just as yummy to eat it without the addition of a starch! Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over top.

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