Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ropa Vieja with Homemade Tortillas

I got on the make Cinco de Mayo train a little late.  I don't care though, because I LOVE Hispanic food regardless of what day it is.  Anyway, this was my first time cooking with skirt steak, and my first time eating ropa vieja.  I am addicted. When I am not eating my leftovers, my teeth have this weird urge to masticate the shredded beef into smithereens.  Usually my teeth don't feel anything except for sensitivity to processed candy, but they won't shut up about how much they want to chew, chew, chew!  I thought that this meal was the best that I have ever made. I ended up modifying the recipe a bit in regards to cooking time, because I had a hungry man to feed.

The fresh tortillas REALLY made this recipe.  I found myself tearing off chunks of tortilla just to isolate the flavor of absolute amazingness.  Try making them, they are cheap, easy (if you have a pair of helping hands), not full of weird ingredients, customizable, and they just taste better.  I even added a tortilla press to our wedding registry after making these.  A perfectly pressed tortilla sounds like the cure to all of life's problems.  Just kidding, but it would help my tortillas to NOT look like gyro wraps.  My rating 10/10. 

Tortilla Recipe (you can refrigerate the leftover dough)
Adapted from Budget Bytes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vegetables oil
3/4 cup warm water

  • Combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls.
  • Slowly start to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry, continue to add the wet ingredients until all of the ingredients have been incorporated into one piece.  Add more water as necessary.
  • Knead the dough for one minute, shape the dough into a ball, cover with a wet paper towel and let rest for ten minutes.
  • Divide the dough into smaller balls.  If you are going to be rolling them out with a rolling pin, you might want to make the balls larger so that you don't go crazy trying to make the tortilla substantial enough to be used as a wrap.
  • Let the dough rest for another ten minutes.  
  • Roll each piece out to desired width.
  • Heat up a skillet over medium heat, spray with pam, and cook the tortilla until lightly browned on each side.

Ropa Vieja
Recipe adapted from Crepes of Wrath

Round 1
2-3 lbs skirt or flank steak
8 cups water
2 large carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped (I omitted this ingredient since I never use up all of the celery before it goes bad)
1 bay leaf
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of your knife
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

  • Combine all of the ingredients from round 1 into a large pot.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 2 hours or until meat falls apart.
  • Remove the meat from the pot and set it aside.
  • Strain the vegetables over a large bowl that will collect the broth.  Toss the vegetables in the garbage (or compost pile)

Round 2
1 green bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 Vidalia onion, sliced into half moons
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups leftover braising liquid from the first step
14 oz can diced tomatoes with juices
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Wash out the original pot.
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the onion, green bell pepper, and garlic.  Saute for 4-8 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, stir to combine the ingredients, and simmer until the tomatoes have heated through.
  • Add the shredded skirt steak, cumin, paprika, oregano, and remaining peppers to the pot and cook for half an hour.
Serve the ropa vieja over freshly cooked tortillas.  Directly go to Heaven.

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