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How to make Cuban beef (ropa vieja)

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Ropa vieja is a Cuban dish of shredded flank steak cooked in a rich tomato base. The name means “old clothes” and this classic dish feels as comforting and familiar as your favorite sweatshirt, even if you’ve never had it before.
The classic version of this dish is time consuming. First, the meat is cooked slowly with water and spices to create a stock, then a sofrito is made, and finally the meat and a small amount of stock, and additional vegetable and spices are added. Many slow cooker variations do away with these steps entirely, but I think the sofrito is essential. It takes about ten minutes to caramelize the onions and peppers, but it’s well worth the effort. I also add soy sauce for a savory boost.
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Cuban Ropa Vieja Beef
Cooktop Cove
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Ingredients
2 lbs. flank steak cut into large pieces
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 bell peppers (2 red, 1 green) thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1-28 oz. (800 g) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 ml) beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. (.25 g) ground cloves
1/4 tsp.(.5 g) allspice
1/4 c. (35 g) pimento stuffed green olives, diced
2 T. (2 g) chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional)
Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring frequently until soft and onion is golden, 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add soy sauce and toss 1 minute more, then scoop into a 5-6 quart slow cooker. (To skip this step, simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker.)
2. Salt and pepper steak thoroughly and add it to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients, except olives and cilantro.
3. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat is falling apart. Remove steak, shred and return to cooker along with olives.
4. Warm for 10 minutes, and serve, sprinkled with parsley, over white rice.
Pro tip: Use the leftovers as a taco filling or serve on a soft roll topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles to make a delicious torta.
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