Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe

My family were American settlers in Cuba starting around the time of the Spanish American War and the Raising of the Maine.

Many of the flavors and styles of cooking have been passed down through my family and I have inherited a passion for Cuban food.  We have friends in Peachtree City from Cuba that shared a wonderful Cuban meal with us that centered on Ropa Vieja.  They shared their recipe with me and I have adapted for use with a pressure cooker.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Ingredients

Broth:

  • two 1 lb or greater flank steaks cut in half, preferably grass-fed and local
  • water to cover the meat in the pot
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons oregano
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Meat:

  • 3-4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to cover bottom of pan
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 2 cans tomato sauce with basil, oregano and garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 Tablespoons oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • small can of tomato paste in case the sauce it too watery
  • optional:
  • 3 Tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped green olives with pimientos

Procedure:

Boil the meat and broth ingredients in a large pot for 45 minutes. To speed up the time, you can put the ingredients in a pressure cooker, bring it up to temperature, reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes.  I find that traditional boiling often takes a full hour so this reduces the time by a third.  Try to tear the meat with a fork. If it tears easily, it’s ready. If not, cook for 10-15 more minutes.

Remove the meat from the pot reserving the broth. Tear the meat apart with two forks. Set Aside.

Coat the bottom of a roasting pan large enough to hold the meat with olive oil. Place onions, peppers and garlic in the pan and sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat to make the sofrito.

Add all the meat and mix together. Add the red wine and tomato sauce. Mix together. Add the oregano, sugar and paprika and mix well. Add about a half cup of the broth, capers and olives and let cook for about 15 minutes. If the sauce is too watery, add 1-2 Tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken the sauce.

New York Italian Beef Sandwich

One of my favorite Foodie cities is Chicago.  I don’t get there very often but seek out good Chicago Hot Dogs and Italian Beef sandwiches when I can.

Recently, I purchased some Grass Fed Local Sirloin roasts from Rocking Chair Ranch Beef in Forsyth, GA.  Here is an Italian Beef recipe I prepared in a crockpot slow cooker and it was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 – 5 lb Sirloin Roast or Rump Roast (Grass Fed and local if possible)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 packet Italian Salad Dressing Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 bay leaf

Place roast in a crockpot.  It can be frozen or thawed.  Combine water and spices in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Pour ingredients from pan over the roast in the crockpot.

Cover and cook on High setting for 4-5 hours or on low setting for 10-12 hours.  An hour before serving, remove the roast and slice thinly against the grain of the meat.  Return to the crockpot to finish cooking.

I serve this by placing the meat on an italian hoagie or steak roll sliced open with a generous ladle full of the broth.  Add a little hot Giardinera pickled vegetables or some hot or sweet peppers to make it really good!

Cinnamon Apple Spice Bars

My husband makes this for our family and serves it hot out of the oven with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.  Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup local organic apples, chopped (any variety)

For Topping:

  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350*f.  Grease a 9×9 pan and set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, plus 1/2 cup white sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Stir in egg and vanilla extract.

Blend flour mixture into butter/sugar mixture until just combined. Add chopped apples.  Spread mixture evenly into a greased 9×9 pan.  In a small cup, stir together the topping and sprinkle it on.  Place pan in oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Serve piping hot with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!