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HomeHome CookingPuerto Rican-Type Ropa Vieja – Leite's Culinaria

Puerto Rican-Type Ropa Vieja – Leite’s Culinaria


In my early twenties, I ended up dwelling in a studio condominium in the identical constructing that I grew up in. It was a surreal expertise, virtually a time loop, and dwelling there allowed me to reconnect to a number of the locations I went to as somewhat child. A type of locations was La Taza del Oro, down the block on Eighth Avenue, a really particular lunch counter that opened in 1947 and sadly closed in 2015. Together with Casa Adela within the East Village, La Taza del Oro was certainly one of New York’s iconic Puerto Rican eating places and it served dishes from different cultures too, together with conventional Cuban ropa vieja (which interprets to “outdated garments,” an evocative description of the feel of the shredded beef).

I make this model at house often, and whereas it doesn’t deliver again a restaurant I want was nonetheless thriving, it helps me maintain my recollections of it alive. It’s additionally simply so satisfying and soul-warming (which is why I made it just a few instances for our native volunteer EMT squad when Covid-19 hit our space).

Get pleasure from it by itself with rice or candy, starchy issues like roasted squash, fried plantains, or grilled corn. You possibly can additionally use this beef for tacos or within a pressed sandwich (attempt it in your subsequent grilled cheese).–Julia Turshen

What’s Ropa Vieja?

First, it’s the nationwide dish of Cuba and liked all through the Latin Caribbean, so you recognize it’s going to be captivatingly good. An extended, sluggish braise tenderizes the comparatively powerful, cheap minimize of meat and infuses it with a tangy, spicy sweetness. This model isn’t the basic Cuban model, which makes use of flank steak—the lengthy, ropy fibers are the way it earned its title—and barely totally different elements, however this Puerto Rican inspiration remains to be stellar and depends on the even cheaper chuck roast.

  • 1 giant (9 oz) yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 medium (13 oz) inexperienced bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • One (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup raisins, ideally golden
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed inexperienced olives, minimize in half if giant, plus 3 tablespoons olive brine for ending the dish
  • One (2- to 3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed of any giant items of fats or gristle, minimize into 3 even items
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons floor cumin
  • Cilantro, for serving (optionally available)
  • Preheat the oven to 300ºF (150ºC).

  • In a big, heavy, ovenproof pot, equivalent to a Dutch oven, stir collectively the onion, garlic, bell peppers, diced tomatoes with their juice, mustard, raisins, and olives (grasp onto that liquid from the olies for later).

  • Sprinkle the chuck roast throughout with the salt, pepper, and cumin. Nestle the items into the combination within the pot. Cowl the pot tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.

  • Roast the meat till it’s extremely tender and shreds simply whenever you poke at it with tongs or a few forks, 3 to three 1/2 hours. 

  • Add the olive liquid to the pot and use these tongs or forks to shred the meat instantly within the pot (discard any giant items of fats as you’re employed).

  • Stir the meat and juices collectively to mix. Style and, if desired, add extra salt. Serve heat with cilantro, if desired. (It’s actually higher the longer it sits. You possibly can refrigerate it for as much as every week and heat it up in a saucepan over low warmth, splashing in somewhat water or inventory if it wants some moisture. You can too freeze it for as much as 3 months.)

Serving: 1 portionEnergy: 424 kcalCarbohydrates: 16 gProtein: 39 gFats: 24 gSaturated Fats: 10 gPolyunsaturated Fats: 2 gMonounsaturated Fats: 13 gTrans Fats: 1 gLdl cholesterol: 130 mgSodium: 1322 mgPotassium: 977 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 4 gVitamin A: 314 IUVitamin C: 42 mgCalcium: 91 mgIron: 6 mg

Diet info is routinely calculated, so ought to solely be used as an approximation.

Recipe © 2021 Julia Turshen. Photograph © 2021 Melina Hammer. All rights reserved.


Recipe Testers’ Opinions

Beef and peppers are nice collectively, stir-fried or braised like this excellent ropa vieja. Making ready a braise is usually straightforward however this one was notably quick because the meat didn’t should be browned. Skipping this step made me marvel if the sauce can be considerably bland, however it turned out to be an pointless concern.

The mustard, tomatoes, and garlic have been nice additions to make the sauce flavorful, and I liked the sharpness of the olive brine. One other factor that makes this recipe easy is that the liquid doesn’t should be decreased afterwards. The meat is shredded proper within the Dutch oven and it is able to be served. Jasmine rice made the dinner desk—an excellent accompaniment for ropa vieja.

That is the dish that you just begin on a Sunday afternoon and put within the oven when you exit for a stroll or go about your day. Get pleasure from it for dinner that evening after which graze on all of it week lengthy. There’s a lot taste from such little effort and really humble elements.

I can’t cease consuming this in tacos, with beans and avocado, however there are such a lot of potentialities. Could be beautiful tucked right into a breakfast scramble and even stuffed right into a baked potato.

Yum! A scrumptious, principally hands-off recipe. I used to be a bit skeptical that the recipe didn’t name for any browning of the meat originally, however I used to be very proud of the top consequence. It was nice to toss every thing within the Dutch oven, pop it within the oven for just a few hours and unveil the simmering medley of the flavors to take pleasure in.

I positively plan to make this once more sooner or later. With the best timing, it’d make an excellent work-from-home, weekday dinner. The leftovers maintain up nice, too. This recipe was very near being a ten for me. The following time I make it I plan to make use of 1 inexperienced bell pepper as an alternative of two, slice the olives in half, and prepare dinner it for 4 hours whole.

I like a slow-cooked recipe that makes use of the oven as an alternative of a sluggish cooker. I’ve made ropa vieja earlier than however it has been years. This one was a breeze to organize—a couple of minutes chopping and assembling, then pile every thing within the Dutch oven and slowly prepare dinner over three hours. Mine did have the complete 3 hours within the oven.

It shredded simply with a fork and a pair of tongs. It’s scrumptious and tastes simply as nice when reheated. Good to have loads of leftovers for the week forward.

There’s one thing so comforting about tucking right into a bowl of this. It isn’t showy or pretentious and doesn’t name consideration to itself. It’s successfully a “dump dinner”, the place you place a bunch of issues right into a pot (no searing required), combine them collectively, after which braise for 3 hours.

The elements, of their uncooked type, would definitely get folks to query your sanity seeing fluorescent yellow mustard coating bell peppers and raisins, a mix virtually by no means seen within the wild, however some magic actually occurs in that oven, and everybody at my desk had full second helpings so we may maintain exploring the various tastes and textures.

The raisins take in the meat juices and, whereas offering a pleasant background taste, don’t endanger the meal’s savory standing. The headnotes be sure to proclaim this recipe’s inauthentic origins, I can’t wait to hunt out extra ropa vieja variants and discover Cuban delicacies past what I can get as takeout from Porto’s. Everybody who ate it desires the recipe.

I immediately felt a connection to this recipe as a result of I used to go to La Taza del Oro throughout my earlier days dwelling in NYC once I was craving a style of house. (I don’t have a Cuban background, however certainly one of my dad and mom’ favourite hole-in-the-walls rising up was a small Cuban diner within the coronary heart of Lengthy Island that served great ropa vieja.) It’s been a protracted whereas since I’ve each had good Cuban meals and seen my of us, so I figured savoring a style of my previous would fulfill each needs.

That is the form of low, sluggish dinner that’s excellent to make on a lazy Sunday. There’s not a lot work concerned in making ready it—probably the most it’s a must to do is slice the onions and peppers, crack sufficient black pepper to coat the chuck roast, and be affected person because the aromas overtake your kitchen.

Whereas a number of the taste parts obtained misplaced within the combine (notably the cumin), all was forgiven the second you bit into the roast which is, no joke, a number of the most flavorful meat I’ve made shortly. The pops of sweetness from the raisins minimize by the brininess and acidic stronghold, however it may’ve turn into overwhelming if I didn’t prepare dinner rice to accompany it. That stated, it tasted precisely like house to me.

UPDATE: The recipe was fully proper; the flavors turn into even higher over time. I ate my leftovers atop an entire roasted candy potato, and the pure sweetness pairs completely with the briny, acidic, wealthy meat.

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