That is what Jonathan has started to call me…Happy Homemaker. I am on day three of being an official housewife, and I have probably another week or two until my services are called upon to substitute teach. That is my plan for this year, substitute teach and get a feel for what education is like in these parts. I was a little spoiled teaching where I did in Florida as it afforded me the opportunity to be creative and innovative with my teaching. This is not the case in many other places. Anyway…I am not here to talk about the state of education in this country. I am here to talk about the yummy meal I made on day two of being a housewife.
I dug down and pulled out my Cuban heritage and made ropa vieja, frijoles negros, y arroz amarillo. Muy facil y delicioso! Ahem, I mean I made Cuban beef stew, black beans, and yellow rice. Very easy and delicious.
Ropa vieja translates to “old clothes” as that is what the beef looks like when it is all shredded apart and yummy. I’d prefer not to think of them as clothes. Anyway…I’ve made this a few times and have stopped looking at recipes much because with all traditional dishes in a particular culture, everyone has a different recipe and everyone says it’s authentic. Here’s what I did:
Disclaimer: I don’t really measure anything…ever when I cook. Baking, maybe…cooking, no. So, these are all approximations
2 bottom round steaks (or any meat that would be tough to eat if you didn’t stew it all day)
1 large can tomato puree
3/4 small can tomato paste
2-3 bell peppers sliced…red or green doesn’t matter
1 onion sliced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 bay leaves
sprinkle of dried rosemary
sprinkle of cumin
splash of white vinegar (maybe about 2 tablespoons?)
2 little cubes of beef bouillon (optional)
- Sear the steaks in a little oil over medium-high to high heat…just to get them brown. Watch out for your smoke alarms, mine didn’t like this step.Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you please.
- Place them in the bottom of a smallish crock pot. I started out with our big one, but opted for the smaller one as you need to cover the meat and veggies with liquid and it would take too much to do that in the big one.
- If your pan has all kinds of yummy brown bits pour a little water in and scrape them up. Pour this over the meat.
- Place the peppers, onions, garlic, and spices on top of the meat.
- Pour on enough of the tomato puree to come to the top of the veggies
- Mix in the tomato paste and vinegar
- Cook on low for 8 hours
- You’ll know it’s done when the meat shreds apart when you poke it. I just kept poking it and stirring the pot with a spoon until it was all shredded up and stew-looking.
- At this point, taste it. If it tastes a little too acidic, add some honey. If it tastes a little too tomatoey and not beefy, add some beef bouillon.
For the black beans I went easy and opened two cans…just like Grandma used to. I popped them in a pot with half a green pepper (diced), a clove of garlic (finely chopped), a sprig of oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil. Set it on low and let it simmer away. The longer the better. I usually add onion, but we ran out.
The rice was easy and not what I usually do. My family always has white rice with our black beans, but at my favorite little restaurant in Gainesville, Mi Apa, they serve yellow rice and it is really yummy. I didn’t look to see how to make yellow rice, so I just sprinkled a packet of Sazon seasoning into the rice water. Miraculously I ended up with yellowish/orange rice.
A fabulous meal!