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Ropa Vieja - A Family Feast


4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

5 pounds flank steak (we bought two pieces, each 2 ½ pounds)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large Spanish onion (yellow onion), at least one pound in weight, sliced thick

1 tablespoon anchovy paste or two anchovy fillets (should be just anchovies, oil and salt)

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon dry cumin

1 tablespoon dry oregano

1 28-ounce can kitchen-ready ground tomatoes

1 quart beef stock or broth, see our recipe here

3 bay leaves

1 6.75-ounce jar green stuffed olives, drained and cut in half

1 cup diced jarred pimento peppers, drained (we found them in 4 ounce jars)

1 12-ounce jar red roasted peppers, drained and cut into thick strips (Or, make your own, see note* below.)

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Salt and pepper both sides of the beef.

Heat a wide heavy bottomed pot or roasting pan with two tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat and once hot, sear meat about four minutes on one side.

Add another tablespoon of oil as you flip and sear the other side then remove to a platter.

You may need to do this in two batches.

Add the remaining oil to the pot and add the onions and cook for three minutes.

Add the anchovy paste, garlic, cumin and oregano and cook for one minute.

Add tomatoes and beef stock and bring to low boil.

Add the beef and any juices that accumulated along with the bay leaf, cover and oven roast for 3 ½ hours, turning the meat half way through.

Remove the meat to a platter and shred with two forks keeping the meat stringy.

Using a strainer or spider, remove solids from pot and add to the beef platter.

Cook the liquid in the pan on the stove top to reduce to three cups. Ours took about 15 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay leaves and add the olives, pimento peppers, roasted red peppers and parsley.

Stir in the meat and solids from the platter, heat and serve with the saffron cauliflower rice.

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*Note: You can roast your own peppers by buying one very large red bell pepper. Place it over an open flame on your stove or grill to char the skin black. Then place the hot charred pepper in a sealed plastic zip bag for about ten minutes. Remove from the bag and scrape off the skin, pull off the stem and remove the seeds. Additionally you could buy fresh pimento or cherry peppers and do the same if you preferred not to buy jarred.