Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guest Post: Isalys Recipe for Ropa Vieja

For those of you who don't know Isalys one half of Book Soulmates...

Let me introduce you!

Hi, I'm Isalys *waves enthusiastically* In case you're wondering how to pronounce my's [ee-sa-lees].

I was made in America with Cuban parts, lol. My culture has always been a big part of my life so I consider myself as much Cuban as I am American. I'm a tax baby...born on April 15.

I am a passionate person.  I try to never half-ass things and believe that hard-work pays off. I also believe that laughter is the best medicine. I love all things British, I am a self-proclaimed Grammarian (like you didn't know that) and have a deeply rooted love for History.

I have twin brothers who are 9 yrs younger than me. They've cost me a lot of money over the years, after all what else are big sisters for other than bailing you out of whatever shenanigans you get yourself into...but I love 'em anyway!

On Oct 24, 2004 I married my gringo, Philip. He's in the Coast Guard and was transferred to Chicago the year we got married so I spent 4 years living in the Windy City. It was a really big culture shock at first, "what do you mean there isn't Pollo Tropical?" and "do I have to have my plantains imported?" But I made some incredible friends so I didn't walk away empty handed!

Overall, I'm a very fortunate person. I have a wonderful family, a great (albeit weird) husband, and some of the coolest, most AMAZING friends and one rockin' book soulmate!
When Isalys, Ruby and I started planning this event, we were throwing around ideas as to what we were going to do for each other's blogs... I suggested - since Isalys and I both love cooking; that she share her favorite receipe today!

Without further ado...

Cuban Ropa Vieja via Go With Curiosity
 Isalys's Recipe for:  Ropa Vieja con Arroz Blanco y Tostones

You'll need:

A pressure cooker (I can't live without mine!)
Side note: This meal can be made without a pressure cooker, but honestly this is the only way I've ever prepared it...
A deep saucepan
2 lbs of Flank Steak
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A small can of Tomato Sauce
Beef stock
Fresh minced garlic
Complete Seasoning (Badia brand is the best)
(2) Bay leaves
Sliced yellow onion
Sliced green peppers
Whole green olives
Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Put the flank into the pressure cooker, fill with enough water to completely cover the steak, seal and let cook for approx 30-40 minutes.  Because flank is a tough meat, using the pressure cooker tenderizes it so it's easier to shred.

Step 2:
After the 30-40 minutes, remove the pressure cooker from heat and let it settle for about 10 minutes.  NEVER open one while it's still pressurized!  Once you remove the meat from the cooker, use forks to shred it...the more fine, the better!

Step 3:
While you shred your steak, get started on your sofrito!  In a large, deep saucepan pour the can of tomato sauce, about half a cup of beef stock, fresh garlic (as much as you like), a tbsp of complete seasoning, a couple of bay leaves, drizzle some olive oil so it doesn't stick and a bit of salt & pepper and let simmer on low heat.

Step 4:
Once you're all done with shredding your steak, toss it into your saucepan with your sofrito.  Add the onion, green peppers and olives and mix it all together.  Make sure that your meat is completely covered in sauce. You can always add a bit more tomato sauce or stock if it starts to dry out.  Cover and let simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, let's get started on the rice and tostones.

Rice is easy to make, especially if you have a hibachi so I won't go into that one.  Rice takes on average about 20 minutes to I start it when I complete step 4 of the Ropa Vieja so they finish about the same time.

Now to the tostones. Tostones are yummy, crunchy, fried plaintains.

You'll need:

1 or 2 green plaintains (which depending where you live, you might have to have imported, lol)
Olive oil

Step 1: In a skillet, heat your olive oil.

Step 2:
Cut the plaintain in half.  Use your knife to slice the peel from top to bottom and pry off.

Step 3:
Cut the plaintain into thick slices.

Step 4:
Carefully slide them into your hot oil.  Cook on one side until golden, then flip [each one].

Step 5:
Once they're all golden, take them out of the oil.  Grab a paper towel, fold in half long-ways and layer it over a towel.  Place your golden plaintain on it and squish it until it's flat.

Step 6:
Once they're all squished, drop them back into your hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes. This will make them crunchy!

Step 7:
Put some paper towel on a plate and once your tostones are done, you can put them on there.  The paper towel will absorb the excess oil.  Sprinkle some salt and voila! 

And there you have it folks, Isalys's homemade recipe for a delicious Cuban classic!!  I hope you guys feel adventurous enough to try it one day and if you do, I hope you love it as much as I do.

Thank you to wonderful Aislynn for inviting me to share one of my favorite meals with you guys!



  1. And thanks for having me share one of my favorite recipes! I know it's a bit intimidating but it's worth it, I promise ;)


    1. It looks and sounds amazing!! I am going to have to hunt down the ingredients and try it.

  2. Now I'm hungry! Thank you for sharing this recipe, I'll be making it soon minus the tostones, I don't find plantains on this side of the world. *cries*


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