Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ropa Vieja

Many recipes call for flank steak or skirt steak, although I've happily used chuck roast when it was on sale, and just discard the fat after it's cooked.

This is adapted from the wonderful cookbook MMMiami, which I fear may be out of print.

1 1/2 lbs.skirt, flank or chuck
2 stalks celery, washed and cut in chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. kosher salt.

Cut the meat in half is necessary, and place in large soup pot., Add about 2 quarts water and bring to a boil over high heat. Drop the heat to very low. Skim off the foam and add the onion, celery, bay leaf and carrot. Cover and simmer at barely a bubble for 1 1/2-2 hours until meat is beginning to shread.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool Keep 1 cup of the broth and use the rest for soup or whatever. (It freezes well.)

Shred the meat with your fingers, discarding fat and connective tissue. If it starts to look a little dry, dribble some of the broth over it.

Then prepare the vegetables:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, cored and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 1 1/4 c. canned tomatoes with their juice or tomato puree.
1 trsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
`/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tsp lime juice (I've used wine vinegar when no limes were on hand.)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions, bell pepper and garlic until soft. Stir in the tomato, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, meat and the 1 cup of broth. Simmer for about 10- minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors. Taste. Salt? Pepper? Add as needed.

Serves about 4, but of course you never know. Better made the day before, like so many things.

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