Ropa Vieja is absolutely amazing, but you wouldn't believe it if you knew the direct translation of the name!
If you were to serve me a dish called “old clothes”, I would be turned off before the plate even made it to the table. Lucky for us, “ropa vieja” sounds a lot more exotic and appetizing (even if it translates to English as old clothes)!
The dish is named after old laundry because of the vibrant colors and the long shreds of beef that form a pile on your plate. The trick to getting such long shreds: Don't use the normal stewing beef. Instead, use a whole flank steak that has grain running from end to end.
This Cuban Beef Stew (Ropa Vieja) hits all the right notes you expect from Cuban food, and is super easy to put together.
First, sear the flank steak on both sides.
Then add in peppers and onions. It's a little awkward to stir this with the huge flank steak chunk, but we aren't really deep browning the onions for this. Just cook them for 5 minutes or so and make sure they all get some time in the oil.
Canned tomato and green chiles go in next, along with some red wine vinegar to form the braising liquid.
Let this simmer covered for about three hours – then you'll get these nice, long shreds.
Top with some pimento-stuffed olives. Does this look like old clothes to you? It looks like delicious to me.
Serve with some black beans and rice and you have a hearty delicious meal that sticks to your ribs!
Dan Whalen has never found dirty laundry appetizing. He has been blogging for over 5 years at The Food in My Beard. Check Dan's Tablespoon profile often to try his recipes with creative international spins!