Sep 24, 2005

Cuban Cravings!

I am craving Cuban food so bad! I'm working on a grocery list for the next two weeks and I think I'll make Ropa Vieja and Black Beans with rice. Have you all seen Daisy Cooks on PBS? It's an excellent show! Check out her website! Here's her recipe for Ropa Vieja and my recipe for Black Beans. You can also make Ropa Vieja in the crock pot.

Ropa Vieja (from

Daisy says...
"This dish gets its name from the shredded texture of the beef, which resembles clothes so worn they're falling apart. If you're Cuban, please don't come after me for using chuck steak instead of the more traditional flank steak. Both are delicious, but I prefer the texture of the shredded chuck to that of flank. Other than that, this is a traditional version of a Cuban standard, which will taste better the next day.Makes 6 servings"
One 2 ¼ to 2 ½ pound chuck roast or two 1 ¼ pound flank steaks
2 teaspoons fine sea or kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the beef
Freshly ground pepper
Onion powder
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup Sofrito
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Two 8-ounce cans Spanish-style tomato sauce
1 ½ cups water
3 tablespoons alcaparrado or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
2 bay leaves
4 celery stalks, with leaves, cut into ¼-inch dice
3 medium carrots, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Pound the chuck roast or flank steaks out with a heavy meat mallet until about ½ inch thick. Season both sides of the beef generously with salt, pepper and onion powder.

2. Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof, heavy skillet over high heat until rippling. Add the beef and cook it until well browned on both sides, about 10 minutes.

3. Drain or spoon off most of the fat from the pan. Stir in the sofrito, 2 teaspoons salt, and the cumin and bring to a boil. Depending on how much oil was left in the pan, you may have to add a little olive oil to give the mix a nice, creamy texture. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, alcaparrado or olives, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover the dish and bake until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork, about 2 ½ hours. Let stand in the sauce until cool enough to handle.

4. Shred the meat coarsely by hand or using two forks. Return it to the sauce and add the celery and carrots. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook a few minutes more. Watch the liquid as it cooks, and add more broth of water as needed.

Cuban Black Beans (my recipe)

1 lb dried black beans
2 slices turkey bacon (or one ham hock)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash each of paprika and cumin

Sort beans and soak overnight. Add beans and remaining ingredients to a large pot and cover by 2 inches with water. Allow to simmer until beans are tender and can be mashed easily with the back of a spoon. Serve over rice.

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