Like so many of my cooking experiments, this dish was inspired by something I recently saw on Food Network. The chef on TV was slaving over a delicious looking piece of meat, then transformed it into this wonderful stew mixed with peppers, onions, peas, and other vegetables. It was mouthwatering. I had to make for myself!
So I turned to the Internet to find a similar looking Ropa Vieja recipe. As usual, Epicurious came through. Although, as sometimes Epicurious tends to do, the recipe seemed a little over complicated as did the list of ingredients. I knew I would have to simplify and cut a few corners if I were going to make this recipe. To simplify the braising part of the recipe, I turned to my trusty slow cooker.
I let the slow cooker “braise” the flank steak while I was at work. To the slow cooker I added the beef, stock, mirepoix, and some spices. And because I am extra lazy, I let Trader Joes chop up the mirepoix veggies for me. I told you I was going to cut some corners. I wasn’t lying.
Then, once I got home all I had to do was sauté the vegetables and add in the beef. First, I sautéed the peppers and onions until they were soft, then I added the corn and peas. I shredded the beef and added it to the veggies. To the meat and vegetables, I poured in some tomatoes, a little tomato sauce, and added a healthy dusting of spices. This was another departure from the Epicurious recipe that calls for the actual dried chili peppers that I supposed I am to then grind up into a powder. Well, someone has already done that for me. I will appreciate all their hard work and just use chili powder.
To go with the Ropa Vieja, I made a big batch of Mexican style rice. I have actually never made this style of rice before, and after making it (so easy!), I can’t imagine what took me so long.
I used this recipe as a reference, but I used tomato sauce instead of pureeing the tomatoes, and I left out the onion and pepper since I already has so much going on in the stew. Cutting corners can truly be the theme of this post.
The Ropa Vieja ended up being wonderful. It had so many layers of flavor, from the beef to the vegetables to the rice. And since the beef had been cooking all day, it basically melted in our mouths.
I knew when I saw this dish on Food Network it was going to be good, but this totally exceeded my expectations. And since I cut lots of corners and used my slow cooker and some pre-cut, pre-blended, and pre-ground veggies and spices, it was so much easier than I anticipated. This has been added to our list of regular week-night meals!