Snow Day Soup: How to Make Soul-Warming, Non-Traditional Ropa Vieja (aka Cuban Meat Stew)! by Chef Gigi Gaggero
Ropa vieja (ROH-pah VYAY-hah) means "old clothes" in Spanish. But don't be fooled! This traditional stew (made in a non-traditional way) will wrap around you like a nice cozy blanket!
- 4 strips nitrate-free bacon, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3-4 pounds flank steak, cut into 4-6 pieces
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3 poblanos, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup masa harina
- 1 bottle good brown beer (I prefer Modelo Negro)
- 2 cups low-sodium beef stock
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup green Spanish olives (stuffed with pimento)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Parsnip and Sweet Potato Mash, whole cooked sweet potato or hot cooked rice
Here’s how you make it:
- Cook bacon in a large oven-proof pot until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel.
- Season beef with salt and pepper. Sauté the beef in the bacon drippings until seared, but not cooked through. Remove and set aside.
- Sauté onions and poblanos for 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the masa harina and cook another minute.
- Add the beer and simmer until evaporated, scraping any bits from the bottom. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Return the beef to the pot. Cover and put it into the oven.
- Braise the beef in a preheated 375-degree oven until fork tender, about an hour. Remove steak from pot and shred with two forks. Return to the pot. Add bacon, black beans, olives, oregano, cumin, white pepper and cayenne. Simmer for additional 5 minutes. Re-adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To serve: With an ice cream scoop, portion one serving of the parsnip and sweet potato purée to each individual serving bowl. Top with stew. Sprinkle with chopped scallions. Serve piping hot with warm corn or flour tortillas. Or serve with your favorite rice.