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Ropa Vieja - Braised Beef in Spicy Tomato and Pepper Sauce

Serves 8

Originally aired

INGREDIENTS
  • To braise the beef:
  • 4 pounds flank steak
  • EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 2 quarts water
  • A handful of cilantro (for a bright flavor) or flat leaf parsley (for a grassy flavor)
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 large onion, root attached, peeled and quartered
  • A few ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 medium bell peppers, green, red and yellow, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Fresno (red, fruity hot chili) or jalapeo pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, half a palmful
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • A small handful of cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, chopped
  • About 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can 15 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes
  • Toppings:
  • Very thinly sliced red onions dressed in lime juice and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Drained pickled sliced jalapenos
PREPARATION

Dress meat with oil, salt and pepper. Brown the meat over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add water, cilantro or parsley, oregano, onion, celery, carrots, garlic and bay. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off heat and let rest for half an hour.

Remove meat to shallow platter and shred with forks, cover and reserve. Strain the braising liquids and return to pot, reduce over medium high heat about 30 minutes more.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Heat EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a deep saut pan over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onions, garlic and chili pepper to oil, and season with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook to soften 8-10 minutes. Add in cilantro or parsley, olives, tomato paste, stir a minute then deglaze with reduced braising liquid and stir in tomatoes to combine.

Slide in shredded beef and simmer a few minutes more to allow beef to soak in sauce.

Serve with rolls or tortillas for a party snack or serve with rice and beans as a meal. Top beef with red onions dressed with lime and pickled jalapeos for garnish.

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