Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

August 30, 2010

A classic Latin American dish made of shredded beef with bell peppers and onions in a tomato-based sauce. This version is made in a slow-cooker and is from his book, The Best Slow and Easy Recipes. But Chris Kimball also has a version using traditional, non-slow-cooker cooking methods, which cooks in just 2-1/2 hours (versus 10 for slow-cooker).

Classic Latin American dish; shredded beef in peppers and onions.

Recipe is here. Saute two onions, tomato paste, garlic in non-stick skillet for 8 minutes, then deglaze the pan using water. Cut the flank steak into 3-inch squares. Add the sauteed onions, meat, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 bay leaves to slow cooker, cook on low for 9 to 11 hours. Afterward, remove meat, let cool and shred using two forks.

Sautee 4 bell peppers, 1 sliced onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large Dutch for 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and cumin and cook about 1 minute. Stir in 1/2-cup white wine, a can of tomatoes, 1/2-cup minced olives, and 2 cups cooking liquid reserved from the meat, and cook until the peppers are soft and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Finally add meat back to reheat and combine flavors, add parsley and vinegar.

Rating: 4-star. Overall the recipe has great flavor, but lacked heat (spiciness). Also the texture was a little too watery.

Issues:

  1. I cooked for 11 hours in slow cooker, but the meat came apart too completely. I would recommend closer to 9 to 10 hours.
  2. Bell peppers are more sweet than spicy, so the recipe definitely lacked some heat.  Next time I will try adding 4 minced jalapenos.
  3. The texture was too watery. I let the liquid cook down for 15 minutes. Next time I’ll let it cook down even further or add some plain gelatin.
  4. I substituted cilantro for regular parsley, because I already had cilantro in my refrigerator (and because I think it is more authentic).
  5. While I started the recipe at 6 AM, (about 20 minutes of work in the morning), I didn’t have to do anything more until 5 PM.
  6. I took the picture before pouring the sauce over the rice, but don’t forget when eating.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $16.50 (fed 5 adults and 4 kids)
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Started: 6:00 AM.  Ready:  6:00 PM


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