Ropa Vieja With Capers
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pounds flank steak, cut with the grain into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups water
3 bay leaves
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 medium green bell peppers, thinly sliced
14 cloves garlic, minced
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes in puree, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup capers drained and rinsed
In a large cast iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Blot the flank steak dry with paper towels and season it generously with pepper. Working in 2 batches, brown the meat over high heat, about 10 minutes. Transfer the browned meat to a platter and repeat with the remaining meat. Return all the meat to the pan. Add the water and 1 bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
Transfer the stewed meat to a large bowl and cover with aluminum foil; reserve 3 cups of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaf.
In the same pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the onions, red peppers and green peppers and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Lay the cloves, cinnamon and the remaining bay leaves on a square of cheese cloth. Gather the edges and tie them with kitchen string, add the spice bag to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, capers and the reserved 3 cups of cooking liquid, bring to a boil, than simmer over moderately low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with pepper. Discard the spice bag.
Meanwhile, using two forks, pull the meat into long shreds. Add the meat to the sauce and simmer over low heat until warmed through, then serve.
Serve with basmati rice and black beans.
Make ahead: The beef stew can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Pairs Well With
Ropa Vieja -Old, shredded clothes - because the juicy meat is shredded like rags. Ropa Vieja originated in Cuba, but is also popular in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. We found this version of Ropa Vieja in a copy of Food & Wine magazine.