Ah, Havana! So much to see, to hear, to smell, and take in…street performers on stilts leading parades of festive cigar- smoking women; turquoise, pink and lime green buildings; palm trees and the sea beyond the Malecon; uniformed school children, and of course the beloved vintage cars. The food is simple, but robust and equally memorable, with Spanish and Caribbean flavors. A favorite is “Ropa Vieja”, or shredded beef. The name means literally “shredded clothes” because after slow cooking, the meat will fall apart into the delicious sauce. Serve it with rice and beans and fix yourself a Mojito!
Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef )
Beef is seared and then slow cooked for hours in spices, onions, garlic and tomato until it falls apart.
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the beef and cook on each side for five minutes.
Into a slow cooker, place the beef, onion, chilies, garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and spices. Cover and let cook for 8 hours, or when the beef falls apart when pulled with a fork.
Remove from heat and shred the beef with two forks. Stir it back into the sauce and keep warm.
Serve with rice and beans. This freezes well.