Dust off your Dutch oven and put this on your meal planner for Sunday afternoon: Cuban Ropa Vieja Stew!
It is cold as all heck outside and the after-Christmas blues are slowly creeping in to the house. To banish my less-than-positive attitude about the winter weather, I let this succulent, spiced stew slowly simmer on a Sunday (holy alliteration, Batman!) while I
folded laundry watched Dexter for 12 hours.
My house smelled amazing by the time it was done and both the husband and I were very happy to cozy up on the couch with a bowl of this hearty beef stew.
The more traditional version of Ropa Vieja typically follows a similar cooking method, but calls for shredding the beef once tender and returning it to the pot. I prefer a little more textural variety in my meals, so I adjusted the recipe and method to make a hearty stew.
It’s a cinch to make, and just requires a bit of prep work and about 20 minutes of active “cooking” time. I used my very favorite enameled cast iron Dutch oven to make this stew, but you could use any heavy-bottomed pot you happen to have lying around.
Once you brown and saute the meal and vegetables, the stew happily simmers for a few hours to tenderize the beef and develop the flavors.
The flank steak just melts in your mouth. Mmm.
This dish reheats really well and makes for excellent leftovers. We had so much leftover that I used some of the meat and vegetables to make burritos. Score!
Here’s your recipe!
- 6 oz. bacon, roughly chopped
- 2 lb. flank steak, cut into 1½″ strips
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 (16-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
- ½ cup halved, pitted green olives
- ⅓ cup sliced jarred pimiento peppers
- 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- Heat a 6-quart or large Dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pot) on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, about 5 minutes, until the fat has rendered and the bacon has cooked. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
- Season the sliced steak with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add steak to the hot Dutch oven in a single layer and cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining steak pieces.
- Add the onion and peppers and cook about 4 minutes, until soft. Add the cumin, thyme, oregano, garlic, bay leaf, and tomato paste and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape the fond up from the bottom of the pot as it deglazes. Return the bacon and steak to the pot.
- Add the stock and tomatoes and continue to cook over medium-high heat until the contents come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook 2 hours or until steak is tender.
- Stir in the olives, pimientos, and vinegar. Let cook uncovered a further 30 minutes, then taste and add salt as needed. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.