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ROPA VIEJA

Story has it that ropa vieja originated in the Canary Islands, a Spanish territory where ships would stop before the long run to or after the long trip home from the Americas. This resulted in a culture that was an interesting mixture of Spanish and Caribbean cultures, and thankfully, food. Immigrants from the Canaries supposedly brought the dish with them to the Caribbean, and to Cuba. Ropa vieja literally means "old clothes" in Spanish. This refers to the appearance of the meat and veggies which end up in strips resembling remnants of old rags. Don't let the ingredients list scare you, it's really not that complicated!

INGREDIENTS

Stewing stuff:
4 T olive oil
2 t Salt
3 bay leaves
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 jalapeno
2 large onions, quartered,
2 carrots, cut into 1/4" slices
6-8 stems of fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, mashed
2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef brisket
salt
fresh ground black pepper

Garlic paste:
1 T minced garlic
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Aromatics: 1/4 C olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
reserved garlic paste (above)

1 1/2 C reserved beef broth
1/2 C dry white wine
2 t white wine vinegar
2 chiles de arbol, ground
2 dried New Mexico chiles, ground
1 T ground cumin
1 green bell pepper, seeded cut in thin strips
8 ounces tomato sauce

Garnishes:
limes - cut into Wedges
1/2 C fresh cilantro
Pico de Gallo, for serving, recipe listed on
Avocado Crema, recipe follows
Fresh Tortillas

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