Valentines day is near, if you have a special someone time to start planning. What will you do? Flowers, candy, take her out on a special date, all great ideas but done and done! Time to clean up your place! Cook her dinner! Imagine you blind fold her, pick her up take her to your place guide her way in, where you have set a table for two. Candles, wine, fresh flowers and soft music in the background, can you just see the expression on her face when you take that blindfold off…..Oh! She’s going to want to reward you later. ‘Wait”, tell her, thats not all “I cooked dinner myself!” I say don’t expect any sleep that night.
Now what’s for dinner?
Ropa Vieja (1.Row-paw 2. Vee-a-ha) is a traditional cuban dish consisting of slow cooked beef simmered in onions, red and green pepper, olives, and is extremely explosive with flavor. It will take you some work but your palette and your honey will be thankful!
3lb beef (cut in cubes for stew)
1 large green pepper diced
1 large red pepper diced
1 onion diced
1/2 cup sliced olives
1 large can of crushed tomatoes ( about 12oz. can)
5 garlic cloves minced
3/4 cups of sofrito (goya frozen kind works best)
1/2 table spoon dried thyme
1/2 table spoon dried oregano
2 envelopes of goya sazon con achiote
2 cups water
salt to taste
Banana leaves (enough to line your pot and cover meat over)
This dish has to be started at least 6 hours before you begin the cooking process, also alot yourself 4 hours for the cooking,if you want to start the day before it will be even better. Line your pot with the banana leaves and place your meat inside take all your other ingredients minus the salt and mix them together to make you marinade/sauce once thoroughly mixed taste it for salt if it needs more add it at this point. Take your marinade and then add it to your meat, time to get them hands a little dirty and get in there and make sure all the meat is thoroughly coated. You will leave your meat in this bath of flavor no less then 6 hours but the more you leave it the more flavor you will have at the end.
After 6 hours take your meat out and let it sit for 20 minutes preheat your oven at 250 degrees place your pot in the oven make sure meat is covered with the banana leaves and also with the top. This will cook for about 4 hours all together, the first 2 hours at 250 degrees the next 2 at 350 degrees, check it with some tongs if the meat easily separates and falls apart its done.
Accompany this with white rice and black beans.
This is where you can cheat a little use instant rice following the instructions, use chicken stock instead of water and add garlic and salt to taste. For the black beans you can use canned.
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Nancy was born and raised in Chicago’s Southside. Growing up in a Mexican casa, she always remembers watching her Mom and Grandmother cooking in the kitchen as a child and watching the vapors rise from the stove and the array of colorful ingredients that went into the creations. Dishes like Mole, Chiles Rellenos, and Pozole. The flavor in these dishes were amazing. Now as an adult, the flavors and the aromas in these dishes are pure nostalgia for Nancy. Nancy is a self-taught, with 26 years of learning experience and 3 years professional. Nancy and her business partner, who own Las Dos Fridas catering in Andersonville, have catered for the Mayor’s Office for Special Events such as Viva Latino Music Fest and the M.A.D.D. Candlelight Ceremony. They also cater to fashion shows with local designers like Horacio Nieto Jr. Recently, Nancy has also dabbled in giving cooking classes and it’s something that she loves doing and will continue to do. She specializes in all kinds of cuisine but focuses on vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free cuisine. Nancy’s motto is to keep it as authentic as possible, but also making it healthier without compromising flavor.