Ropa vieja literally translates to “old clothes” from Spanish to English, and when you make this delicious Puerto Rican dish you’ll understand why. The beef shreds into long strips which kind of resemble old, ripping clothes. It is a strange name, but ropa vieja is an amazingly flavorful dish which is simple to make, and nutritious to boot. I have heard that the best way to experience a culture is through the food, and if Puerto Rico is anywhere near as good as this dish, I need to be spending a lot more time on that little island just south of Florida. I’d love to compare it to any traditional American dish, but nothing really does it justice. I suppose in a way ropa vieja is similar to chili, but it is definitely more of a meat dish than a soup. Pair it up with jasmine rice, spiced with cilantro and citrus, and you have a balanced meal complete with healthy carbohydrates, lean protein, and nutritious fats. Also, you can make this in your slow cooker if you don’t own a dutch oven or have the time to wait on it to cook in the oven.
- 1 Pound Flank Steak, preferably grass fed
- 1 T Coconut Oil
- 28 oz. canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- ½ Cup Green Olives, sliced and with the brine
- 4 oz. Green Bell Pepper, sliced
- 4 oz. Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion, sliced
- 1 Medium Jalapeno Pepper, sliced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 T Ground Cumin
- 1 T Mexican Oregano
- 2 tsp Red Chili Flake
- 2 T Salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 1 Bunch Cilantro, chopped
- 1 Cup Jasmine Rice
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Over medium high heat, melt the coconut oil in a large dutch oven. Rub the steak with 1 half of the spices. Brown both sides in the dutch oven, and then remove to a plate.
- Add the onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno to the pot. Cook until just starting to color, and then add the garlic. Put the steak back into the pot, pour over the tomatoes, the olives with the brine, and the rest of the spices. Give one stir, be sure the steak is mostly covered by the liquid, cover, and put in the oven. Cook until the meat is tender enough to pull into strips, probably 2 hours. Remove from oven and leave covered on the stove.
- Cook the rice according to package directions. After it is done, stir in the lime juice and half the cilantro.
- Stir the rest of the cilantro into the ropa vieja, and then serve atop the rice. If you’re feeling particularly authentic, also include black beans and perhaps even plantains. I like mine with a lot of hot sauce, but that is personal preference.
Nutrition: ¼ Batch