The gravy for this ropa vieja is extremely robust and is wonderful for spooning over white rice or even pasta. The meat is super tender and absorbs the sauce really well. I love the cultural reference that "ropa vieja" represents. To me, it's a dish that demonstrates how an economically poor country can make something so delicious and refined.
Technique tip: While beef is cooling after cooking, prepare your side, i.e. salad, sweet fried plantains or rice and beans. Make sure all vegetables are cut in uniform size to allow even cooking.
Special equipment: 6-quart stovetop or electric pressure cooker
- 3 cups water
- 1½ pounds flank steak
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Add the water, flank steak and bay leaves to the pressure cooker. Season with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Close the lid.
If using a stovetop cooker: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and set the timer for 30 minutes. Cook over high heat until the pressure point is reached, then lower the heat to medium and continue to cook.
If using an electric cooker: Use the meat setting and adjust the time to 35 minutes, or set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 35 minutes.
2. When done, remove the stovetop cooker from the heat and apply quick-release, or cancel cooking for the electric cooker and apply auto-release. When all the pressure is out, open the cooker and transfer the flank steak to a carving board, using tongs. Allow the beef to rest, about 5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the beef stock for later use and discard the rest. Do not discard the bay leaves.
3. When ready, manually shred the beef, pulling it apart into 1/2-inch wide pieces.
4. Heat the oil in the stovetop pressure cooker over medium-high or use the sauté setting for the electric pressure cooker. Sauté all of the vegetables and garlic, adding the oregano and cumin, until the onion begins to soften and the mixture is fragrant, about 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, red wine and reserved beef stock. Add the shredded beef, vinegar and black pepper, and adjust for salt. Stir well, cancel cooking for the electric cooker and close the lid.
5. If using a stovetop cooker: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and cook over high heat for 10 minutes total.
If using an electric cooker: Use the meat setting and adjust the time to 15 minutes, or set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 15 minutes.
6. When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and allow the pressure to release on its own (natural-release), about 7 to 10 minutes. If the pressure is not fully released after 10 minutes, apply auto-release. Serve immediately.
Courtesy of Modern Pressure Cooking by Bren Herrera, Page Street Publishing Co.