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Ropa Vieja



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Ropa Vieja

We are pleased to present another Cuban recipe
from one of our many online friends, Marite:

“Here is a dish that is very traditional in Cuba.  It's called Ropa Vieja
(Old Clothes.) My husband gets such a kick from the name of this recipe.
 He doesn't speak much Spanish despite considering himself an 'honorary'
Cuban, and the idea of eating "Old Clothes" tickles him.
An interesting side story about Ropa Vieja.  I visited Venezuela years ago
and while there I told my hosts to order for me, and order the most typical
Venezuelan dish they could think of.  Much to my surprise, when my meal
arrived it consisted of Ropa Vieja, rice and fried ripe plantains! Little did
I know that I had been eating Venezuelan food all my life.
This is actually a recipe adapted from Cocina Criolla by Nitza Villapol,
[1981, Zocalo, Downtown Books] sort of the Cuban Julia Child. I use it,
and it comes out just like my Mami's, so it must be right.”


2 pounds skirt steak
4-5 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, julienned
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
One 7-ounce jar pimientos
1/2 cup red wine

Cook the meat (I put it in a pot with some onion, celery, tomato, garlic
and water and make a broth with it and then take the beef out to use for
Ropa Vieja or another favorite, Vaca Frita). Cool the meat and shred.
Sofrito is the beginning of most Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes and it
starts with a mortar and pestle. Peel the garlic and put the cloves in thee
mortar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pound with the pestle until you've
got a thick paste.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the diced onion, green peppers,
and the garlic paste and cook until the vegetables are slightly wilted. To
this mixture add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, the cooked meat, pimento,
wine, and salt to taste. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. If it
needs more liquid, I use some of the beef broth I made with the meat.
Serve over white rice.
According to Nitza this should serve 8 people, but with my family this
does not serve 8 - more like maybe 6 if I'm lucky. It's really a very
easy thing to make.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Marite's Frijoles Negroes
Mexican Roast Pork and
Cuban Sandwiches

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