Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cuban Food! Ropa Vieja, Black Beans, Fried Plantains

Ropa Vieja
from the owner/chef of Cubanitas herself

Delicious food with the funny name which means “old clothes” because when you shred the flank steak it resembles it. It’s a little time consuming, but worth the effort.


4 lb flank steak

one whole onion

one finely chopped onion

1 bay leaf

Tbsp olive oil


In a pot, put all ingredients, cover with water and boil for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours on medium heat. Remove from pot and cool. Cut the fat. Shred.


½ cup olive oil

1 medium red pepper, julienne about ¼ in thick

1 medium green pepper julienne about ¼ in. thick

finely chopped medium Spanish onion

finely chopped 3-5 cloves of garlic

¾ to 1 cup of tomato puree

½ cup dry white wine

1 bay leaf

tsp. cumin

tsp. oregano

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

In large sauté pan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add peppers, onions and garlic and heat until you smell the flavors coming out. Add shredded beef, tomato sauce, bay leaf, wine, cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper. Let simmer for about 20 to allow ingredients immerse themselves. Appearance should be saucy. Remove bay leaf.

Serve over white rice. Serves 6. Can be made ahead of time and heated when needed.


My friend Amy's Cuban Black Beans

1 lb. dry black beans or 4 15 oz. cans cooked black beans (don't drain if using canned beans)
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 green pepper and 1 red pepper, chopped (or sub. can of pimento for red pepper)
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 c. olive oil
4 c. water
1 6 oz. can tomato paste or tomato sauce
1 T. white vinegar
2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 t. pepper
(opt: jalapeno or hot sauce to taste)

shredded cheese, chopped tomato, sliced green onion, sour cream

Rinse and soak beans (if using dried). Saute onions, peppers and garlic in oil until tender. Add beans and rest of ingredients (except garnishes). Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about two hours, or until beans are tender and flavors are meshed.


Fried Plantains
3 mostly-ripe plantains (yellow, but not black)
olive oil and butter OR canola oil

Slice plantains at an angle into slices about 1/2 inch thick (it's sometimes easier to slice them in the peel and then remove the peeling when they're sliced). Saute lightly in a blend of oil and butter or deep fry in canola oil until they soften slightly and start to turn a golden yellow. Remove and place on wax paper. Flatten each partially-cooked plantain slice, then re-saute in oil or oil and butter until they are golden and somewhat crispy on the outside. Season with salt.

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