Saturday, November 29, 2008
What should you do when you have a house full of food? Make more!
The turkey carcass has been soupified, and the yams, potatoes, and stuffing has been given away and frozen. The refrigerator looked weird and empty yesterday, but we had an overflowing produce drawer. I had an email saved from Melanie, who walked me through making Ropa Vieja---which is a fantastic way to use a frozen hunk-of-meat, and feed a lot of people.
--3 lbs meat (get what's on sale. Stew meat, chuck roast, steaks, whatever.)
--1/2 cup chicken broth
--1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (could use white)
--1 T cumin
--1 tsp smoked paprika
--1 tsp salt
--1/2 tsp black pepper
--1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
--1 large red onion, chopped
--2 red bell peppers, chopped
--2 med yellow apples, grated
--3 stalks celery, chopped
--3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
--1/2 cup cilantro leaves
I used a 6.5 quart crockpot. I think you'll need at least a 5 quart----this is a lot of food.
Combine all of the dry spices in a bowl. Rub the spices all over the piece (or pieces) of meat you are using. Put the meat into your crockpot. Dump any extra spice on top.
Coarsely chop the vegetables and add to the pot. Smash the garlic, take the leaves off the cilantro stems, and add.
Peel the apples, and grate them into the pot with a cheese grater.
Add the chicken broth and vinegar.
Cover and cook on low for a very long time, or on high for a pretty long time. I'd go for at least 10 hour on low and at least 7 hours on high, checking about 2 hours before serving to see if you can shred the meat with forks. If you can't shred the meat, cook for longer, or remove the meat and cut in long slices, then return to the pot.
Ropa Vieja means "old clothes"---the meat and vegetables should be shreddy and fully intertwined. The longer and slower you cook this, the better. There is plenty of moisture from the chicken broth and vinegar---if you are a peeker, you may need to add more chicken broth; but otherwise, you'll get a good amount of juice at the bottom of the pot.
Serve over brown or white rice, with a ladle full of broth.
Delicious. After a few days of sweet Thanksgiving food, we were ready for a different flavor.
The kids ate their meat separate from the vegetables, but did eat it. They also ate a ton of rice, because--well--that's just what they do.
I hadn't cooked the meat long enough when I took the above picture. I was tired, and just wanted to be done, and the kids were hungry. After we took some of the meat out, it cooked for another 3 hours on low, and then was perfect. The resulting stew was tangy and smoky at the same time---it was delicious. I ended up cooking on low for a total of 12 1/2 hours.
Thank you, Melanie!