Cuban Shredded Beef (Ropa Vieja) with Criollo-Saffron Rice
1/4 cup rice bran oil
2 each bell peppers
2 each onions
8 each garlic cloves
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 each tomato paste
small can
1 Cup red wine
1 Cup tomato sauce
1 Cup green olives
2 Cup beef stock
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
4 lbs hanger or skirt steak
4 each garlic cloves
3 each shallots
1/2 Cup lime juice
1/4 Cup rice bran oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp light olive oil
1/2 each onion
finely chopped
4 Cup rice
5 Cup water
1 tsp salt
Pinch of saffron
crushed & bloomed in 1 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp achiote paste or smoked paprika
2 each bay leaves
3 tbsp butter
Lime wedges and chopped cilantro for garnish
For the Ropa Vieja Sauce
In a large pot or rondeaux, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté peppers and onions until slightly browned. Reduce heat and add garlic, spices, and tomato paste. Add wine and cook for 4 minutes. Add tomato sauce and olives and cook for 5 minutes. Add beef stock and vinegar, continue to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning and spices, season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the Steak
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients with the steak. Let marinade as long as time permits. Heat cast iron grill until just smoking. Use rice bran oil to grill until medium rare, about 4 minutes each side, depending on the size of the piece of steak. Remove from pan and let rest for 10-15 mins, slice on a bias against the grain.
For the Rice
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions until soft. Stir in rice and toast until slightly brown. Stir in water, salt, spices, and saffron with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low and cover. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes, until tender. Fluff rice and stir in butter.
To Serve
Place sliced meat and ladle sauce on it. Garnish with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.
For the traditional Ropa Vieja, steak is stewed for hours until it is soft and falls apart like "old clothes", which is what "ropa vieja" means. Our modern take of this, takes out the long cooking process by making the sauce, searing the steak and slicing it thinly and spooning the sauce over it. Try it for a delicious taste of a traditional Caribbean dish.