"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Good Stew On a Dark Day

A woman from out of town walked out of Portland's convention center and sighed. The past three days that she'd been in town, it had been raining continuously. She opened up her umbrella and asked a little boy on a tricycle, "Does it ever stop raining here?" The little boy replied, "How should I know, I'm only six years old."
Even though today is the last day of spring we had to change our plans thanks to the cold weather and stuffy noses. We were going to make bulgogi a Korean seared flank steak. But stuffed noses all around made me change the recipe. (Okay actually we hadn't noticed the 4 hour marination time).
So we switched recipes and moved 7847 miles east to Cuba. For Old Clothes. Old Clothes? Do we need to change recipes again? No we don't, Ropa Vieja is a Cuban stew that (just our luck) uses flank steak. Ropa Vieja also means old clothes.
I'm starting to understand the name Ropa Vieja now. This stew won't be done until I'm an old man and my clothes are in shreds. At least, that's what it feels like. This is taking forever!

The clothes have been shredded. Have you ever shredded flank steak before? It gets harder to shred as it gets colder. Not to mention boring. Yet it does explain the name of this dish, I've never seen anything better at impersonating a pile of old rags. I've also never been so confused by cooking directions. Then I realized I had been reading the wrong recipe!
I'm back on the right recipe and I'm getting the feeling that I'm almost done. In 15 minutes I need to add the frozen peas and olives. and 10 minutes later this meal is done.
It's been a bit of an odd meal preparation wise. It seems that a lot of what was done we did again and again not to mention for the first hour and a half of cooking we had a wide variety of vegetables in the pot, everything from carrots to celery. Yet after that hour and a half we tossed out all the veggies. Seems to me to be a little wasteful, I mean why couldn't we use the veggies in a recipe the next day, they would be perfect in a shepherds pie if you added some potatoes.
Oh well, those veggies have gone down the gullet of our grandma's dog, Maggie, by now.

The stew was amazing. It was hardy, complex and rich, at least thats what dad says, I can't taste anything thanks to my stuffy nose. There was one thing I could taste though, the pimento stuffed green olives, They quite simply exploded with a complex, salty flavor. The stew had a great array of colors with the red and green bell peppers, peas and olives with a back drop of rice and meat. It was a great stew for such a dark day. If only we could get a ray of Cuba's sunshine.

1 comment:

  1. Guys -- This looks delicious. I hope your Dad had to do all the dishes for Father's Day. Aside from black beans and the excellent Cubano sandwiches (two kinds of pork, mustard, pickles) -- and the cuba libre -- we don't get enough Cuban.

    We're in swelter-city here -- meaning everything is ripening early. The killer tomatoes are getting in. The girls and I went blueberry picking last week and pulled ten pounds from 5 bushes in 20 minutes. I
    ve never seen anything like it. I made 3 cobblers but still have tons left. I made a ratatouille exclusively with farmers mkt vegetables, and it, I humbly submit, was sublime.

    Anyway, we'll be out in about four weeks -- including over a Sunday night. I promise not to bring any propane tanks.