Monday, June 9, 2014

The Frugal Gourmet: On Our Immigrant Ancestors: Cuban Ropa Vieja

I got this cookbook from my grandmother.  I'm not sure how many recipes she ever made out of it, but there's one page that has pen marks on it and bits of dough smushed between the pages that I know got a lot of use -- Hungarian Dumplings.  I'm Czech-Hungarian on Dad's side, so that makes sense.

Did I make the dumplings?  No, I did not.  I would have, but they require the use of a Spaetzle maker, one of which I had but got rid of not knowing what it was.  Go figure.

Every recipe I made out of this cookbook was really, really good.  If you remember my last foray into the land of The Frugal Gourmet, you'll remember that some of the recipes were more successful than others.  These all knocked it out of the park, though.

When I told Dennis, who speaks Spanish, what we were having for dinner, he looked confused and said, "We're having old clothes for dinner?"  That's what the name of this dish translates into, I guess because the meat is shredded?

I cooked the meat in the Crock Pot, because I made it during the week and didn't have two hours to let it cook, but I'll include directions for either way.  It's a little labor intensive, but so worth it.

Also, since I made this, Dennis has been making burritos with this meat and the red rice from a couple weeks ago, and apparently, they're really good.  You'll also recognize the rice in the pictures.  These two things were part of the same meal.

I kind of get the impression that if this were the only thing I made for the rest of our lives, Dennis would be OK with that, just as a point of reference.

Cuban Ropa Vieja
Serves 8
From The Frugal Gourmet: On Our Immigrant Ancestors


1 3 1/2 pound beef chuck or pot roast
Salt and pepper to put on roast
1/3 cup olive oil 
1-2 cups water (depending on your cooking method)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry wine (I don't know if pinot grigio is dry, but that's what I used.)

Crock Pot Method
Rub salt and pepper into the meat.  Put meat in Crock Pot with 2 cups water.  Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

Stove-Top Method
Rub salt and pepper into the meat.  Heat a large covered frying pan or stove-top casserole and add a bit of oil.  Brown the meat well on both sides, and then add about 1 cup water.  Cover and simmer until very tender, about 2 hours.  If the pan dries out during cooking, add more water.  Allow the meat to cool, covered, in the pan juices.

Remove the meat from pan or Crock Pot; debone and shred the meat.  Set aside in the bowl, along with the pan juices (or about half the liquid from the Crock Pot).

Heat (or re-heat) the pan and add the remaining oil.  Saute the onion and garlic, until just clear.  Add the remaining ingredients, including the meat and its liquid.  

Cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes more.

Dennis added cheese to his.

Don't forget to try the Red Rice!


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