Why on earth did I wait so long to make this dish??? A few months ago, I had my first “real” experience with Venezuelan/Cuban cuisine at Mundo’s Fusion in Weddington, North Carolina. I even tried tostones for the first time! Loved every dish that was presented. I tried to remain as authentic to a ropa vieja as I could with my recipe. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did. It is definitely a time commitment, but so worth it!
I used flank steak, but you can also use a beef roast. Either way you need to trim off the fat and cut into pieces so that it will cook up super tender. Adjust the heat level to your liking. My heat came from the jalapeños and cayenne pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pot to medium-high. I love this enameled cast iron pot from Lodge. Click here! Trim fat from the flank and cut into four pieces. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Place meat in pot and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove flank and reserve.
Turn heat down to medium. Place onions and peppers into the pot and allow to sweat down, and caramelize. This should take about 15 minutes. Stir often to ensure they do not burn.
Add in the garlic and spices. Allow to cook for another minute or so. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Be sure to scrape up any bits at the bottom of the pan. Allow to come to a fast simmer.
Add in the chicken stock, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, carrots, celery and bay leaves. Simmer for a few additional minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Place the flank steak back in the pot with any juices. Bring the pot to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer, covered, on low for at least three to four hours. Mine took four. Stir occasionally just to ensure that nothing is sticking to the bottom.
Once the flank is tender and the sauce has developed, remove the steak and shred with two forks. Discard the bay leaves, celery and carrots. Place shredded flank back into the pot and coat with the sauce. Add in the olives (I skipped this just because the Hubby does not like olives), and allow everything to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley. Serve the Ropa Vieja on top of your favorite rice with a few lime wedges. I also added homemade tostones as a side. Click here for recipe! ENJOY!
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