Sunday, January 3, 2010

Recipe: Ropa vieja (sort of)

One consequence of having 90% of your worldly belongings in a storage unit far from your apartment is that you tend to have the same things for dinner over and over and over and over and over because all your cookbooks are tidily packed up in Box #114 at the back of the unit and damned if you're going to dig them out just because you're tired of chicken, broccoli and rice.  Luckily, there's the internet which provided me with a recipe for a variation on the Cuban dish, ropa vieja.  Of course, I didn't have several of the necessary ingredients so we ended up with a variation on the variation, but it was still tasty and wicked easy, so I thought I'd share it with you.  Pluswhich it's a crockpot recipe so you can just throw it together in the morning, go skiing all day, and come home to hot and tasty food.  Which is just excellent apres-ski, by the way.

28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 red bell peppers, sliced in 1/2 inch sticks (I used green because they're cheaper)
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 tsp. oregano (didn't have any; used a little marjoram and a little basil instead)
1 tsp. cumin (didn't have any; used hot chili powder instead, which gave it a nice kick)
1 1/2 lb. flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds (the flank steak was $$ so I got something less $$ instead)
1 cup rice     (1 avocado and 1/3 cup fresh cilantro for garnish)

Combine everything except rice, avocado and cilantro in crockpot, nestling the beef down into the vegetables.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.  Before you're ready to eat, prepare the rice according to package directions.  Shred the beef in the ropa viejo; serve over rice.  Slice avocado, add it and cilantro as garnish.

I was worried that it would be too thick but the juices from the (drained) tomatoes and the other veggies are more than enough to make this into a sort of beef and vegetable soup.  You could add a bay leaf for more traditional flavoring, or add potatoes instead of serving over rice - any number of variations.  This recipe is easily adaptable and will now make its way into our regular rotation.

On a totally other subject: Heroes returns tomorrow in a two hour "event" - God help me with the recap.  And help us all if Nathan Petrelli doesn't stay dead.

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