It’s true what they say; tastes can transport you to another place. Remember that scene from Ratatouille where the food critic was transported back to his childhood from simply tasting a bite of Ratatouille? Well that’s sort of the feeling I had tasting this Ropa Vieja. …Except I wasn’t transported back to my childhood, …and it wasn’t reminiscent of my mom’s cooking. Instead, I was brought back to my girls trip to Miami from last summer; all the fun, and the delicious Cuban-style Ropa Vieja. Once I got home from Florida, I tried a few different recipes,and I came up with something I could easily throw in the Slow Cooker because, well, it’s just easier that way.
Serves: 4 Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes searing and blanching, then 8-10 hours in Slow Cooker
1 Tablespoon of ghee
2 pounds (approximately) of flank steak, in one piece
1 Cup of bone broth (or beef broth)
1 can or jar (8 ounce) of tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy)
1 jar tomato paste (4 ounce)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 small yellow onion, sliced into strips
1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
1 tablespoon of cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced (optional)
4 bell peppers (for serving), seeded with tops removed (bowl shaped)
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Heat ghee in a large skillet (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Once ghee is melted and shimmering, add the flank steak and brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the steak to a slow cooker. Pour in bone broth broth and tomato sauce, then add onion, red bell pepper strips, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil and ACV, bay leaf (optional). Add in sliced jalapeños if you want a more spicy dish. Stir until well blended. Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours.
When it gets close to being done, prepare your bell peppers for blanching. Preheat oven to 375. Fill a a large, wide pot (I use my Dutch oven) with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add bell peppers (end down) and let simmer for two minutes. Do not over cook or they with become soggy. Gently pull out bell peppers with tongs, then rinse with cold water. Remove the bay leaf from the slow cooker, and pull apart the meat using a fork (It should easily shred after 8-10 hours in the slow cooker). Once pulled apart into more bite-sized pieces, combine well, then stuff Ropa Vieja into the blanched bell peppers. Bake for 20 minutes in your preheated oven. Garnish with cilantro before serving (optional).