Blogs, Recipes

Ropa Vieja

One of the things I love about cooking is how the flavors can take you back to a specific time or memory. This recipe reminds me of my family whether it was dinner at La Teresita or the smells of my grandmother’s house. La Teresita is a Spanish restaurant in Tampa. My family have shared many meals together here. Every time we would go to dinner at Le Teresita, my dad would order Ropa Vieja, which means “old clothes” in Spanish. We would laugh as he made a joke that he liked the taste of old clothes then he would shake the bread basket, and ask “Más pan!” It became a family joke!

You’ll love this dish if you’re into big, bold flavors! It is delicious served with black beans, white rice, and sweet plantains. Typically this dish is made with flank steak, which is lean and has long, shreddy fibers, and is how the dish earned the name “old clothes.” It’s the traditional choice, but you can also use chuck roast. 

Brian and I love to use our Le Creuset braiser. So naturally, I used the braiser for this recipe. However you can also make this in a slow cooker. I included instructions for both below. 

I can not think of a better wine to pair with this dish other than Scout and Cellar’s 2018 OSO PARDO TEMPRANILLO. This wine is deep purple-red in color with notes of cherry, blood orange and leather lifted by a hint of violets on a textured frame with a bright finish. I love the story of where this wine comes from, La Mancha, Spain. The winery was founded over 30 years ago, when 28 wine growing families decided to join and work together, creating something larger than any of them could have done on their own. To this day, the estate operates as a cooperative, with over 6,000 acres of vineyard with about 60 viticulturists and vintners. Click the link to learn more and order a bottle.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds flank steak
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt or more to taste
  • 15 ounces can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup Spanish green olives, pitted (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • white rice steamed
  • 1 lime quartered
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Pat roast dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large heatproof pot over high. Cook chuck roast, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides, 5–7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 250°. Cook onion, bell peppers, and salt (plus 2 Tbsp. oil if using flank steak), stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12–14 minutes. 

Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pan, until vegetables are golden brown, 3–5 minutes. 

Stir in wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Stir in paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne until vegetables are coated; continue to cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add tomatoes and stir. 

Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Nestle the meat into the tomato mixture and tuck in bay leaves on either side. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until meat is very tender and shreds easily, 2½–3 hours. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Skim excess fat from sauce; discard bay leaves. Using 2 forks, tear and smash beef into sauce until it’s shredded and covered with sauce. 

Stir in olives and vinegar.

Top with cilantro. Serve with white rice, black beans and sweet plantains.

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS

Add the wine, vinegar, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spices to the slow cooker and stir. Add the flank steak and flip it around in the sauce.

Add on top of the meat the onion, bell peppers, olives, and garlic cloves.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 9 hours or high for 5 hours.

Recipes

Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos

This recipe was very popular a few years ago on Pinterest. It’s definitely become one of my go to recipes when I know it is going to be a long day at work and want something easy for dinner!

These Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos are ridiculously easy and sure to become your go-to lifesaver dinner! The chicken turns out super moist and flavorful every time.

Add chicken breasts, salsa, and a Ranch seasoning packet into your slow cooker. And let the slow cooker do all of the work. Before serving shred the chicken, serve it on a tortilla with all your favorite toppings! For my tacos, I add a Cilantro Lime sauce and fresh Pico de Gallo, I included the recipes for each!

RANCH CHICKEN TACOS INGREDIENTS

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) chunky tomato salsa
  • 1 packet Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix

RANCH CHICKEN TACOS DIRECTIONS

Pour salsa mixture over chicken and turn chicken to coat.

Cover with a lid and cook on HIGH for 2.5 to 3 hours, or on LOW for 4 to 4.5 hours.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks.

Stir the chicken back into the slow cooker; evenly divide chicken over warm tortillas and garnish with your favorite toppings.

Serve.

FRESH PICO DE GALLO INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • I clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

CILANTRO LIME SAUCE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small bunch cilantro 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1  medium avocado 
  • 2 tbsp water

RANCH CHICKEN TACOS DIRECTIONS 

Pour salsa mixture over chicken and turn chicken to coat.

Cover with a lid and cook on HIGH for 2.5 to 3 hours, or on LOW for 4 to 4.5 hours.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks.

Stir the chicken back into the slow cooker; evenly divide chicken over warm tortillas and garnish with your favorite toppings.

Serve.

FRESH PICO DE GALLO DIRECTIONS

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.

CILANTRO LIME SAUCE DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a food processor/blender and blend until smooth.