Ropa Vieja + Rice
Why we love it:
- 3 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 2 pounds Flank Steak
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 2 Bell Pepper (Orange, Yellow or Red)s
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
- 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup Cider Vinegar
- 1 15-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes (or diced)
- 31⁄2 cups Water (divided)
- 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
- 1 bunch Broccolini
- 1 Lime
- 8 Corn Tortillas
- 1⁄4 bunch Cilantro
- 1 Avocado
1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 300 DEGREES
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven with the other rack either below that, out of the way, or high enough above to accommodate the tall pot.
2. LET’S TALK POTS
For this, a dutch oven is ideal. That’s the ceramic kind with a fitted lid. Don’t have one? Use a tall sided, oven safe pasta style pot with a lid. Or a slightly smaller kind will be ok as well. You could use a tall sided pot without a lid and just cover it with foil instead.
3. SLICE STEAK
Slice the flank steak into about 6 pieces - once along the grain, down the center. Then slice each half into three pieces. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of salt.
Heat the oil in your pot of choice over high heat. Add the flank steak pieces and brown on both sides, about 5–7 minutes total, while you slice the veggies.
Dice the onion. Mince the garlic. Slice the bell peppers into long strips that are about ⅓ inch wide.
When they’re chopped, you will have already flipped the steak once to start browning the other side, so you can add these veggies on top of the steak.
6. ADD THE REST
To the pot, add the spices: paprika, dried oregano, ground cumin, cayenne pepper (if using). Add another teaspoon of salt. Stir to coat.
Then add the vinegar and it will help bring up the brown bits on the bottom. Let it bubble while you stir. Then add the tomatoes, and add about 2 cups of water (doesn’t have to be precise here). Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering, give it a stir and make sure the steak is nestled under the veggies and fully submerged, then cover the pot. Transfer it into the oven and cook for 2-2.5 hours.
When you have about 20 minutes to go on the ropa, start the rice. Combine the rice and 1.5 cups water and another ½ teaspoon of salt (if you scaled this recipe away from 4 servings, these numbers will be incorrect - use this ratio for white basmati rice 4 servings = 1 cup rice + 1 ½ cup water + ½ teaspoon salt). Bring to a boil over high heat and stir well. Then reduce to low and cover. Simmer, untouched, for about 17 minutes. Turn off the heat and fluff it. Recover and let it sit until needed.
Trim the very ends, just a ¼ inch, off of the broccolini bunch and place in a small casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast in the oven for about 6 minutes or until tender.
10. FINISH BEEF
Remove from the oven and set on a burner over high heat. Skim excess fat from the surface of the sauce with a spoon or ladle. Using tongs, lift beef into a bowl and use 2 forks to shred the beef into strips, you want to make it finely shredded. Meanwhile, the sauce should be boiling, uncovered, to reduce the sauce a bit. Once shredded, add the meat and juices back into the sauce and stir to combine. Slice the lime and squeeze a little in, slice the remainder in wedges for plating.
11. TORTILLAS + CILANTRO
It’s nice to warm the tortillas either in the oven, over a gas burner on low, in the microwave for 10 seconds or in a toaster oven. Chop some clean cilantro, including stems, for plating.
Serve a scoop of rice, topped with beef, peppers, and sauce. Broccolini on the side. Slice the avocado for plating and add the lime wedges and tortillas. Serve with chopped cilantro.