What is on your culinary bucket list? My list is very long. It’s a good thing because I have a several reasons to tackle them. The reasons are to try new things, learn techniques, and share them here on this blog. Plus it keeps me from getting into a routine or rut which is something I do quite well. Yes, look up creature of habit and there is my photo. Anyway, it was time to make something to check off my list. I chose to make Ropa Vieja.
What is Ropa Vieja? It is a Cuban or Caribbean shredded beef dish. The name is Spanish and it translates to “Old Clothes”. I’ve read lots of different stories about how it was named that and I’m not sure which one is correct. However it was named is to be determined. What has been determined for sure is how good it is. (Source = me). I’ve enjoyed it from the moment I first tried it many years ago at a local restaurant.
Cafe Chavez was that local Cuban restaurant. We decided to go there one night after hearing many rave reviews. We sat down and had no clue what to order. One of us chose Ropa Vieja. We dove in when the plate of shredded beef served over rice arrived at the table. The tomato-y, pepper-y, cumin flavored sauce was unlike any other I had before. It instantly made me a Cuban food fan. Sadly, the restaurant closed several years ago. Since then I’ve only had Ropa Vieja a few times. I always wanted to make it at home and never did. That is, until Isabel challenged the Sunday Supper team to make something from their culinary bucket list.
The variety of recipes this week is incredible. Many different cuisines are featured. There is something for everyone:
Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:
- Homemade Bagels with Mimosa Spread by Daily Dish Recipes
- Homemade Tortillas by Supper for a Steal
- Brioche by Gotta Get Baked
- Alton Brown’s Soft Pretzels by Hezzi-D’s Book and Cooks
- Braided Challah by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites by In the Kitchen with Audrey and Maurene
- Belgian Waffles by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Gluten-free Bread by Happy Baking Days
- Monkey Bread by Vintage Kitchen Notes
Sunday Supper Main Dishes:
- Lightened Up Slow Cooker Butter Chicken by The Meltaways
- Gluten Free Ravioli by No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
- Bagna Cauda and Potatoes by Shockingly Delicious
- Beef Wellington by Family Foodie
- Green Chili and Lentil Tamales by Mangoes and Chutney
- Mushroom Ragout over Creamy Polenta by Noshing with the Nolands
- Butternut Squash Gnocchi by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Ropa Vieja by Magnolia Days
- Tah-Dig (Persian Rice) by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
- Fresh Ravioli with Ricotta by Comfy Cuisine
- Stuffed Artichokes by The Roxx Box
- Braised Short Ribs by The Messy Baker blog
- Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon by Hip Foodie Mom
- French Onion Soup by The Weekend Gourmet
- Leaping Frog Chicken by The Urban Mrs.
- Fried Polenta with Spicy Tomato Relish by Mama Mommy Mom
- Savory Spinach-Filled Crepe Cake with Cheddar Sauce by Webicurean
- Japanese-Style Prosperity Pockets & Goat Cheese En Croute by Ninja Baking
- San Antonio Puffy Tacos by Sustainable Dad
- Chinese Dumplings by My Cute Bride
- Falafel by Small Wallet Big Appetite
Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:
- Creamy Lemon Fudge by Chocolate Moosey
- Zebra Cake by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Faux Ice Cream with Bananas by Country Girl in the Village
- Divinity by Juanita’s Cocina
- Homemade Seafoam Candy by girlichef
- French Macarons by I Run for Wine
- Mocha Macadamia Trifle with Mascarpone Cream by The Foodie Army Wife
- Nut and Seed Nougat by What Smells So Good
- Pumpkin Mocha Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Frosting and Dulce de Leche Drizzle by Damn Delicious
- Chocolate Meringue Cake (gluten free) by Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
- Gluten-Free Golden Fudge Cake by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Orange Rum Tiramisu Cake by Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends
- Peanut Sesame Honey Brittle by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Granola Bars with Dried Fruit by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Jamaican Blue Drawers by Lovely Pantry
- Mini Classic Key Lime Pies by In the Kitchen with KP
- Donuts: Redux by Kelly Bakes
- Hot Lemon Curd Soufflés by Food Lust People Love
- Popcorn with truffle oil and asiago cheese by Ruffles & Truffles
Are you ready to tackle your culinary bucket list? I’m one down and lots to go. Perhaps my next one will be a recipe in today’s event. They all look so good. Choices, choices…
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One note about the recipe: It is a very good version of Ropa Vieja. It is similar to the way I have had it at a few Cuban restaurants. I do intend to tweak it in the future. I want it to be more like the one I had at Cafe Chavez long ago. At least I can say I tackled one of my culinary bucket list items. Fine tuning it will be just as fun as making it the first time.
- 3 pounds skirt or flank steak trimmed
- 2 quarts water
- 2 carrots coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion coarsely chopped
- 2 celery ribs coarsely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 garlic cloves 3 crushed & 3 minced, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano divided
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1 green bell pepper sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 onion sliced into 1/4-inch strips
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups braising liquid plus additional if desired
- 1 can can chopped tomatoes 14- to 16-ounce
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 red bell pepper sliced into 1/4 inch strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced into 1/4 inch strips
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives drained and chopped
In a 6 or 7-quart soup pot or dutch oven, add beef, water, carrots, large onion, celery, bay leaf, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Loosely cover and simmer 1 1/2 to 3 hours, until beef is tender (easy to shred). Remove pot from heat and cool meat in liquid 30 minutes. Transfer meat to a container and cover. Strain braising liquid into a bowl using a colander. Press on the solids to press out liquid. Discard solids. Return braising liquid to the pot and boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Cool braising liquid completely, cover, and refrigerate it and the beef separately overnight.
Pull meat into shreds using two forks. Set aside.
In the soup pot, cook green bell pepper and sliced onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until softened, stirring occasionally.
To the pepper/onion mixture add shredded meat, 2 cups braising liquid, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Loosely cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
In a large skillet cook red and yellow bell peppers in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until softened, stirring occasionally. Add softened peppers to the pot with additional braising liquid if needed to thin or to desired consistency. Stir to combine and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir in peas and olives. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm over white or yellow rice.
A recipe for ropa vieja, a braised and shredded beef dish made with bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, and cumin.
Recipe adapted from one on Epicurious.