It is not a secret, I love Latin American food. I did not grow up eating it, but let me tell ya’, once you move out and explore the world, you discover many things!
I hope you enjoy this mouth-watering recipe as much as I have the past few years!
This is a complete step-by-step guide on how to prepare this tasty cuban-inspired dish. I’ve divided each recipe into the following sections: Cuban-Style Shredded Beef (also known as ropa vieja), Black Beans, White Rice, and Plantains.
Cuban-Style Shredded Beef (or ropa vieja): My sweet friend (who happens to be from Cuba) is the one who introduced me to this recipe; original source linked here. Below is a recap with minor tweaks (and photos).
Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 4 hrs
- 1.5 lb of flank steak
- 2 tbsp of cooking oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
- 2 tsp of garlic, minced (or 2 chopped garlic cloves)
- 1 tbsp of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp of ground cumin
- 1c of beef broth
- 1 tbsp of white vinegar
- 1 (8oz) can of tomato sauce
- 1 (6oz) can of tomato paste
- Optional: 1 chopped serrano pepper for spiciness
Begin by prepping the veggies. Dice the small onion, slice the bell pepper into strips, and chop the cilantro. If you are not using minced garlic (pictured above), finely chop two large garlic cloves. Also, if you like spicy food, chop one serrano pepper.
In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil. Once the oil is heated, add the meat and brown each side for approximately five minutes.
Next, place the meat in the crock pot. Ready for the easy part? Throw in the rest of the ingredients listed above: 1 tbsp of cooking oil, onion, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro, cumin, beef broth, vinegar, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and serrano pepper. Mix the ingredients until well blended.
Set the crock pot to cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 10 hours. Once the meat is cooked, shred it, and serve with black beans, rice, and plantains.
Black Beans: I am finally sharing exactly how I cook black beans. It is the most simple and basic way to cook them, and honestly, this is how I prefer my food. Minimal ingredients but mighty delicious!
Prep Time: 5 min | Cook Time: 2 hrs
- 4c of water
- 1c of black beans
- 2 garlic cloves, whole
- 1 tsp of salt (or to taste)
Begin by sorting through the cup of beans to ensure there are no small rocks or funky-looking beans. Next, rinse the beans and set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, over low-to-medium heat, add all of the ingredients: water, beans, garlic, and salt. Cover and let them simmer.
Tip: Slightly tilt the lid on its side to avoid spills.
White Rice: Another simple recipe with very few ingredients. There are several ways to make rice so I’ll be sharing more rice recipes in the future.
Prep Time: 5 – 10 min | Cook Time: ~25 min
- 1 tbsp of cooking oil
- 1/2c of onion, diced
- 1 tsp of garlic, minced (or 1 chopped garlic clove)
- 1c of long-grain rice
- 2c of water
- 1 cube of chicken flavor bouillon
Get started by rinsing the cup of rice until the water is running clear. In a large skillet, over low heat, heat the cooking oil. Once the oil is heated, add the onion and garlic and cook for one minute (do not let it golden or brown).
Next, add the cup of rinsed rice. Stir the ingredients for approximately one minute (do not let it golden or brown). Add the water and cube of chicken flavor bouillon.
Next, stir the ingredients until the chicken bouillon dissolves. Cover and let it cook.
Tip: Once the water is entirely absorbed, and the rice does not appear soft and fluffy, add a small amount of water and wait until it is absorbed. Repeat this step until you see the rice getting fluffier.
Plantains: I had no idea how simple it was to cook plantains! I gotta admit, because I am not too crazy about sweets, I thought it was a bit strange to pair a side that is rather sweet in taste with the main dish. Anyone else? Well, don’t be afraid to explore because now they’re my fav!
Prep Time: 5 min | Cook Time: ~20 min
- 2 yellow plantains
- 5 tbsp of cooking oil
In a large skillet, over low-to-medium heat, heat the cooking oil. Cut the plantains into thirds or fourths.
Once the oil is heated, add the plantains and cook each side for about 5 minutes or until golden.
Prepare your plate and enjoy!
This may have been a lot to take in but worth the time. I really hope you try it and let me know what you think! To help you prepare this delicious meal, I organized each recipe in the order it should be cooked. I’ll cover additional tips via IG stories and add them to the recipes highlight.