Homemade: Ropa Vieja

We were inspired by all of the delicious Caribbean food that we enjoyed on our week-long Key West vacation, and decided to re-create a dish for a dinner party last night.  We looked up several recipes and settled on a crock pot recipe for ropa vieja, a delicious slow-cooked beef dish.  Below is the step-by-step instructions for our adaptation, which amounts to eight servings.

1) Cut up two medium sized onions into slices.  They don't need to be minced into tiny pieces, big slices are just fine.

2) Cut up two medium green bell peppers into slices.

3) Chop three or four cloves of garlic.

4) Chop up one tomato into large pieces and then put all of the ingredients (onions, bell peppers, garlic, and tomato) into the crock pot.

5) Brown 2-3/4 pounds of flank steak on each side.  We used a large 13-inch cast iron pan.  Once both sides are nicely browned, place the flank steak in the crock pot (no need to cut it up).

6)  Add 1/2 cup of wine, 1-1/3 cups of beef broth, 10 ounces of tomato sauce, 8 ounces of tomato paste, 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin to the crock pot.  We also added 3 or 4 ounces of hot sauce to the pot for some spice, this is something to add according to your taste.

7)  Everything in the pot looked like this - we then turned the pot on high and cooked for 4 hours + another 2 hours on low.  You can also cook on low for 8+ hours, we just didn't have quite that much time.

8) After about six hours, I pulled apart the meat with two forks and stirred everything up.  It was still pretty saucy, but after sitting in the pot it thickens up.

We served the ropa vieja with black beans, rice, and fried plantains.  Here are the plantains pre-fried and cut into nice bite-sized pieces:

And the final step:  add a group of friends, multiple bottles of wine, and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe for ropa vieja!  We really found it to be very simple to make, the crock pot really did all of the work.  You could also use a dutch oven as well with similar results!  Thanks so much for reading.  =)

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