Indio Viejo
  • Cooking Time: 2 hours
  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Preparation Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • 15 corn tortillas, cut into small strips and soaked in water, overnight preferably
  • 2 lb beef, chuck, cut into two or three large pieces
  • 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • 5 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 red onion, cut into medium dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into medium dice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 oz canned tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • fresh mint, chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  1. Prepare tortillas. They should soak for at least a couple of hours.
  2. Saute beef in a large skillet in 2 Tbsp oil until well browned on all sides.
  3. Put beef in large pot along with bay leaves, onion quarters, and 5 mashed garlic cloves.
  4. Pour in enough water to cover to about 1/2 inch, cover pot with a tight lid, and simmer 1 and 1/2 hours.
  5. Let pot and contents cool to room temperature. Discard bay leaves, onions, and garlic. Reserve beef and 4 c cooking liquid.
  6. Prepare beef. Identify direction of grain and cut crosswise so that grains are no more than 3 inches long. Then, using two forks, shred beef to separate grains of the meat.
  7. Saute red onion and peppers in skillet in 3 Tbsp oil until onions are soft. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes and paprika, stir well, and cook 1 minute longer.
  8. Drain the soaked tortillas and blend them with the reserved 4 c beef broth (the reserved liquid that the beef was cooked in).
  9. Return beef, the broth with the tortillas, and the contents of skillet to pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.
I've had this dish in a restaurant in Granada, Nicaragua, and in a friend's home across the border in Choleteca, Honduras. It was called ropa viejo at the restaurant, but my friend's family did not have a name for it; they just called it "guisado", which can mean almost anything that's cooked. The unusual name of this dish comes from a legend about an encounter between a native Indian and a conquistador. ``Viejo'' in the name of this dish could also have the same origins as in ropa vieja, referring to the shredded beef. The beef is typically skirt or flank steak, although I think chuck is a better choice. The preferred cooking method is braising although sometimes the meat is roasted.