Ropa Viejo (Cuban Pulled Beef) via Pressure Cooker
Deneece Gursky [Smokeygirlxo] here on JAPC gets the credit for this one! She said it originated with an in-law from Cuba, so I consider this to be the real deal. Deneece's recipe was tempting me, but considering how hot Indiana has been this week I couldn't heat up the kitchen with a steaming Dutch oven on the stove for two hours, so I used my electric pressure cooker instead (I can set it in the garage or on the porch, keeping my kitchen cool). I think the recipe could easily be amended to work in a crockpot too. (For cooks who prefer to use a Dutch oven, look up Deneece's recipe on this site.) It would be a good choice to fix on the weekend because you'll likely get the day's dinner and then have leftovers that'll be easy to reheat in the microwave or keep in the freezer for a quick meal or two later--plus you will end up with a fair amount of beef stock to use in another recipe.
6-12 (Depending on the size of the cut of beef and portion sizes.)
I KNOW IT LOOKS LIKE A LOT OF INGREDIENTS, BUT IF YOU COOK MEXICAN DISHES OR SPICY FOODS, YOU PROBABLY ALREADY HAVE EVERYTHING. THE RECIPE IS VERY EASY TO DO AND VERY FORGIVING.
beef flank steak or rump roast
olive oil (3 t. for browning meat, 5 t. for sauce-veggie step)
medium carrot cut in half (or i used 10 baby carrots, split in half lengthwise)
onions, chopped coarsely (i used one red and one white onion; the first onion goes in the pressure cooker and the second is for the skillet later.)
water to cover the meat. (i used water left from making green beans, new red potatoes, and ham hocks yesterday.)
cilantro, finely chopped
garlic, mashed and minced
small green peas (optional)
green or yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped (i also added two banana peppers and may add a jalapeno next time.)
mild chili peppers, seeds removed and chopped (or take a short cut and use one small can of chopped chili peppers). when it comes to peppers only you know how much heat your family can stand, so adjust the recipe to your liking.
pimento, drained and chopped (the pimento adds to the flavor profile, but if you don't have them or don't like them, no biggie.)
large ripe tomatoes (or one large can of tomatoe; i used fire-roasted)
ground cayenne pepper
rice, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes as a complement
Trim excess fat and ick off of the beef. In a skillet, add 3 Tablespoons of the oil and heat. Into the hot oil, place meat. Sear to brown completely on all sides.
Remove the browned meat to the pressure cooker and cover the meat with water. (I had leftover broth from making green beans, potatoes, garlic, and ham hocks in the day before, so I used part of that. Replacing half of the water with vegetable or beef broth would also work, but it isn't necessary.)
Add 1 of the onions, coarsely chopped, to the skillet where the meat was browned and cook until softened. This brings out the flavor in the onion. If you want to add the celery to the skillet, have at it, but I just dumped the carrots and celery--along with the softened onion--into the pressure cooker.
Add the bay leaves to the contents of the pressure cooker.
Secure the lid on the pressure cooker and close the valve. Set the pressure to high or 80p. Set to cook for 90 minutes.
When the pressure cooker's time is up, leave the beef in the cooker while you prepare the following ingredients (if the timing isn't right, just leave it on Warm until you are ready; mine was in the pot another 30 minutes and longer wouldn't have hurt anything).
In the skillet used earlier, add the remaining oil and heat. Put the other onion, chopped, in the skillet and cook until softened.
To the onion in the skillet, add the 1 t. finely chopped cilantro, 3 cloves garlic (mashed and minced), 1 cup small green peas and 1 chopped bell pepper and simmer while stirring slowly for 7 minutes.
Add the ½ c. pimiento (drained and chopped), 3 mild chilies, 4 whole tomatoes (peeled, seeded, chopped) OR 1 large can of tomatoes (I used fire roasted), and 2 t. tomato paste.
Use a measuring cup to scoop two cups of the broth out of the pressure cooker. Add to skillet mixture. Add dry powdered/ground ingredients. 1 T cayenne pepper, ½ t cumin, and salt and pepper (to taste). Stir mixture to blend well, cover the skillet, and allow to simmer for 15-20 min.
Using tongs, take the meat out of the pressure cooker and place in a large serving bowl or a platter that curves up on the sides to contain juices. Pull the beef apart (it will probably be falling apart anyway as you take it out of the cooker). Make sure you don't grab any of the bay leaves as you are transferring the meat from the cooker.
Dish up any side dishes/accompaniments and ready the table as the skillet simmers. Rice or baked potatoes go well with this entree; the beef can be ladled over either one. It would also be really good with polenta.
Five to ten minutes before serving, take the cover off of the skillet and turn the heat up to allow contents to thicken somewhat.
Pour the skillet contents over the beef and toss a bit to coat all of the beef. Tongs work well for this.
This is a dish where the flavors only improve with time, so leftovers are a plus! The recipe makes quite a bit, so I froze half of the leftovers to have for a quick meal on a night when I have little time to cook and put the other half in the refrigerator to use for sandwiches or lunches over the next couple of days.
When cleaning up, remove the bay leaves from the broth left in the pressure cooker and transfer the remaining broth to a glass jar to put in the fridge or a freezer container. Use for soup or another recipe.