10 April 2010

Cuba Libre!

The summer before I turned 16, I got to live with my aunt and uncle in Florida. I was there to learn about videography and see if it's what I wanted to do when I grow up. Obviously I didn't go that route, but it was still a really awesome experience. One of the best parts of that long ago summer was the food. It was the first time I tried sushi (blech), the first time I tried plantains (no thanks), and the first time I tried Cuban food (yes please!).

I like to think I'm not a picky eater. Sure, there are things I know I don't like, but in general I'm willing to try anything once. I also know that there are a lot of things I never would have tried before that summer, things like sushi. That was one of the best summers ever, and I'm still very greatful to my aunt and uncle for what they had to deal with in order to let me stay with them for three whole months (I was 15 after all, and they are a couple who probably never imagined that they would have a teenage girl to care for since they don't have kids).

This recipe is for them. Cuban Ropa Vieja cooks all day in the slow cooker and comes out so flavorful and tender that it just falls apart (at least it does if you cook it on low for 10 hours instead of on high for 4). I can't say that it's authentic Cuban food, but it was damn tasty. We served ours with rice and black beans with a sprinkle of lime juice, but we also threw on some shredded monterey jack cheese even though I know that's not authentic. Still, damn tasty. Love you Uncle Robert and Aunt Laura!

Cuban Ropa Vieja
Recipe from All Recipes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 pounds beef flank steak
1 cup beef broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the flank steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer beef to a slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred meat and serve with tortillas or rice.


Tulsa Gentleman said...

Wow, this looks great. BBlack beans and rice would go great with this. I might dice and throw in a couple of hot peppers as well.

laula said...

Wow Katrina, Thanks for the dedication! So glad we got to share the experience with you. I love you!

Zimmerooski said...

That DOES look damn tasty. Kind of off topic - after my teaching course ended, we (everyone in the class) got together for a bbq on the last day. One of the girls knew of a tienda that sold some damn tasty carne asada. Whenever you get your butt out here (and assuming I'm still here), we need to go by that shop; get some carne asada, tortillas, Dos Equis and limes; find a grill; and feast on the best meat in the world.

Sunshine said...

Bill - It was fantastic with the rice and beans. Would you believe it was about 100 times better the next day for lunch? Yeah, I knew you'd know that.

Aunt Laura - I meant every word that I said. It was one of the best summers ever!

Honey Mim - Digging the new name again! I don't know if I'll be able to come out there this summer since I'm hoping to go to Yellowstone in July to see Grandma. If I don't do that though, we're definitely on for the carne asada!

phil said...

this sounds fantastic, and would be great for the poker party im having next week. how many does this reciepe serve?

Sunshine said...

Phil - If you use the 4 lb roast, it should serve about 6, moderate portions (that's with the rice and beans). If you do the bigger roast, I would definitely cook it on low for the 10 hours so you have to use less muscle to shred the beef.

Zim's Empty Pockets said...

Boo. Everyone's going to Yellowstone. This kid's too poor to do that!