Citizens – today marks an historic day in U.S. history, as it is the first time since the late 1950’s when a President has officially met the leader of Cuba!
I am hopeful this will mark the end of more than 50 years of deep antagonism towards Cuba and that both countries can put their troubled relationship behind them. The return of the fabulous Cuban cigars and rum to legality has absolutely nothing to do with my position. 😉
It seems appropriate to include a Cuban recipe for today’s posting – one that is beloved not only on the island itself but by the huge ex-patriate Cuban community in south Florida.
Interesting data point according to Wikipedia: ropa vieja (which means “old clothes” in Spanish, due to the ragged shreds of the meat) has its origins in the Sephardi Jewish community of Spain in the 12th century and evolved to its current form in the Canary Islands and finally in Cuba, where it is one of the national dishes. Variations of the dish occur throughout the Caribbean, especially in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Some versions in the Canary Islands contain beef, chicken, or pork, or a combination of these. The dish is a national feature of Cuba where it does not contain chicken or pork; rather, it is shredded beef in sauce.
My version of this classic Cuban recipe has reached a pinnacle of succulence by its use of brisket as opposed to flank steak and a carefully-balanced set of spices and ingredients that truly makes my recipe both definitive and delicious! 🙂
Citizens – I hope you enjoy this recipe and share in my hopes for a future of peace between two great nations!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
2 lb beef brisket, fat cap off and cut into several pieces
6 oz. bacon, roughly chopped
1 ½ large sweet vidalia onion, diced small
1 large sweet orange bell pepper, diced small
1 Cubanelle or Anaheim pepper, thinly sliced
⅓ cup diced fire roasted peeled pimentos
10 anchovy stuffed green olives, cut in ½
3 tbsp capers
8 clove fresh garlic smashed or put through a garlic press
½ c dry white wine
¼ c diced fresh curly parsley, try not to add the stems
2 large bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 16-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
6 ounces tomato paste
1 small packet sazon goya seasoning with cilantro and achiote
3 sprig(s) fresh cilantro, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp goya adobo seasoning
1 ½ c beef broth (low salt or homemade)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Render bacon in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Transfer to a plate, leaving fat in pot.
Season brisket with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes; transfer to plate.
Add onion and peppers; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, thyme, oregano, garlic, and bay leaves; cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add wine; cook, scraping bottom of pot, for 1 minute.
Return bacon and brisket to pot with stock, remaining herbs (except cilantro), remaining spices (use only 5 of the garlic cloves), Worcestershire and tomatoes; boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until brisket is very tender, at least 4 hours. Remove brisket and shred; return meat to pot with olives, pimientos, capers, remaining 3 garlic and lime juice.
Cook over medium heat until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in minced cilantro before serving.
Best served on top of white rice with fried plantains, black beans and a salad.