6 oz bacon, roughly chopped
2 lbs flank steak, cut into 1-1/2″ strips
coarse salt and pepper to taste
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 Cubanelle (or green chili) thinly sliced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 Tbsp cumin
1Tbsp dried oregano
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 16 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/2 cup pitted green olives, halved
1/3 cup sliced pimentos (from the jar)
3 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Render the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Transfer crisped bacon to a plate, leaving fat in a pot. Season meat with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook beef until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes.
Transfer cooked beef to a plate. After it has cooled, shred the beef with two forks. Add onion and peppers and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin ,thyme, oregano, garlic and bay leaf.
Cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add wine. Cook, scraping bottom of pot for a minute. Return bacon and beef to the pot along with the olives, pimentos, capers and vinegar. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
Stir in cilantro before serving.
*According to Cuban folklore, a poor man had nothing to cook for his family. All he possessed was a pile of old clothes. On a whim, he put the clothes into his cooking pot and he cooked them with such love that they turned into this delicious dish of beef stewed with onions and peppers. This particular version of “old clothes,” the translation of Ropa di Vieja, is accented with olives and capers.
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