Things have been hectic lately! My mom and I have been working like crazy to get the wedding squared away (especially my mom; I don’t know what I’d do without her). We’ve got a venue, the food pretty much planned out, linens, chairs, a photographer, music, invitations almost finished, still working on the flowers and some of the decorations, I have my dress, the boys all need tuxes still, and we need an officiant. I think that’s it! It’s all coming together and it’s so crazy how fast the time is passing by!
Now, onto the food. This is the best meal that I’ve made in a long time. If you really want to impress people, I highly recommend trying this dish. I’ve never had ropa vieja (Cuban beef stew) before, but now it’s one of my favorites foods. The skirt steak is simmered with vegetables until so tender it falls apart when pulled with two forks, then it is simmered again in more vegetables, garlic, a bit of stock, and a wonderful array of spices and herbs. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this dish. It goes great with a simple piece of crusty bread or wrapped up in a warm tortilla, and the leftovers are fantastic, as it keeps getting better and better after each day.
Roughly chop your first onion.
Chop your celery.
Chop your carrots.
And crush your garlic.
In a large pot, combine the above vegetables with 8 cups of water, the skirt steak, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
Stir well, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 2 hours (I did mine for about an hour and 45 minutes).
While the meat cooks, prepare your other vegetables. Thinly slice your onion.
Thinly slice your green bell pepper.
Your orange bell pepper.
Red bell pepper.
And your yellow bell pepper.
Place the onions and green bell pepper in one plastic bag, then the other bell peppers in another plastic bag. Place in the fridge and clean everything up. This way, you can be much more efficient in the kitchen!
Do the same with the garlic.
When the meat is ready, remove from the pot and place on a cutting board.
Pull the steak apart with two forks and set aside in a medium sized bowl.
Strain the vegetables from the braising liquid and discard the vegetables. Keep the it in a bowl and set aside.
Clean out your pot, heat your 1/4 cup of olive oil in it, and add in your minced garlic, sliced onion, and green bell pepper. Sautee for 5-8 minutes, until just softened.
Add in the tomatoes and simmer for about 8 minutes.
Add the meat back in, along with the braising liquid, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon oregano. Cover again and simmer for about another hour.
Add in the rest of the bell peppers and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Serve with some crusty bread or a tortilla and enjoy!
Serves 4-6 with 2 pounds, 6-8 with 3 pounds.
- 2-3 lbs skirt or flank steak (to serve 4-6, use 2 pounds, to serve 6-8, use 3 pounds)
- 8 cups water
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of your knife
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into long strips
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into long strips
- 1 orange bell pepper, cut into long strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into long strips
- 1 Vidalia onion, sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups leftover braising liquid (see above)
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juices
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Combine ingredients 1-12 in a large stew pot. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid, and cook for two hours, or until meat falls apart easily using a fork. Remove meat from liquid and cool. Strain liquid from pot, and retain it. Discard vegetables and everything else that remains in the strainer.
- Clean and dry original stew pot. Heat up oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, green bell pepper and garlic, then saute for 8-10 minutes.
- While peppers and onions are cooking, shred the meat.
- Add the tomatoes to stew pot. Simmer 10 minutes, then add in all the pulled meat, cumin, paprika, oregano and the braising liquid. Bring to a simmer again, cover, and cook for 1 hour.
- Add rest of the bell peppers and cook for another 30 mins.
- Serve with crusty bread, wrapped in a warm tortilla, or over rice. This stew tastes even better the next day, and stores well in the fridge for 3-5 days, or you can freeze it.