Friday, October 23, 2009

Latin Flavors

I LOVE ETHNIC FOODS! There I said it. I love any food really, with the exception of any kind of liver. But give me Italian, Latin, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai well you get the idea, I can't seem to get enough variety. Since I was born and raised in Hialeah, Florida in the Miami-Dade County area, I have had a great many friends that are of latin descent. I have also had my fair share of cafe con leche and meat pies. There are a great many restaurants to choose from. Oh how I miss them. One of my favorite dishes is Ropa Vieja , which translates to "old clothes" or "rags" if you will for the shredded texture of the beef, which resembles torn fabric or clothes. Another one of my favorites is Pollo Guisado a braised chicken stew or Caldo Gallego which is a wonderful soup, but I'll save those for another post.

  These are some of the basic ingredients, however I obviously got started before taking a photo of the beef, and cans of Spanish-style tomato sauce. I used a skirt steak this time as it was what I had on hand but you can use a flank steak or even a chuck roast as well. The ziplock bag contains homemade sofrito (made in large quantities and frozen), which is indispensable to latin cooking as is trinity and mirepoix in America.

  In any event it is very easy to prepare. Brown the meat on both sides and remove to a platter.

Make your sauce and return meat to the sauce.

Bring to a boil, cover and into the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until the meat shreds easily. Watch your liquid and add water or broth (preferable) as needed, to cover.

When tender and shreds easily to the touch of a fork, remove from sauce. Let cool and shred.

Return to sauce, add final ingredients and simmer 10-30 minutes. Again adding water or broth if needed.

  There are a great many variations of this recipe. Some add celery and carrots to the final sauce and others leave it out. I chose the latter as this is the way I have always had it. Some recipes add red wine and others add broth. I added additional beef broth to the sauce as needed. This dish can be served with any number of sides, mostly with rice or potatoes. I have always had it with mashed potatoes. Give this dish a try and you won't be disappointed. You also won't have a lot of dishes to clean as it is a "one pot wonder" ; )
Michael and Carla


  1. Carla, I am making my shopping list as I type. This looks incredible. I absolutely love capers & stuffed olives, so this is a must try... unless I can get there in time for dinner!

  2. I love one pot wonders!! This sounds delicious served with mashed potatoes. I love latin flavors too, one of my favorites actually.


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