The Place for the Healthy Foodie and Hurried Chef
When we first moved to Orlando, we went to Columbia in downtown Celebration for dinner. My husband ordered the Ropa Vieja and as usual, his entree was WAAAAAY better than mine. Months later, I stumbled across the Columbia biography/recipe book written by the owners. In it: the recipe for the famous dish. I gave it a shot and WOW, good stuff. I think my husband is even more in love with me than ever.
Ropa Vieja with Arroz Buena, Beans and Avocado.
Making Ropa Vieja is a two part cooking EXTRAVAGANZA. Basically, you boil meat and veggies, then you simmer meat and veggies with wine. Win win win. Here are the ingredients and instructions for the first half…which by the way takes about 2 hours.
1 flank steak (1.5 lbs)
2 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, cut in strips
4 cloves garlic
2 tomatoes (or one can of diced tomatoes and tomato paste)
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
Boil the steak with other ingredients until meat is tender, about 1.5 hours. When the meat is cool, shred it as finely as possible with two forks. Puree the vegetables in a food processor. Add water to make sure that steak is sufficiently covered by water, and stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
The second half (the sauce)
2 large onions, sliced in half-moons (I recommend quartering the onions)
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
4 garlic clothes, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup wine
salt/pepper to taste
1 can of diced tomatoes plus 1 can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of oregano
Green peas (cooked) and roasted red pepper strips for garnish (optional)
Sautee the onions and green pepper in oil until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for ten minutes. Add beef and pureed vegetables. Stir well, cover and cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Garnish with peas and pimento strips. Serve with white rice. Fried ripe plantains go very well with this dish. Serves 8.
Trust me, this is worth the effort and it was surprisingly healthy. Weight Watchers 6 smart points per serving (1/8th of the dish).