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Apr 16, 2010 11:13 AM

ropa vieja in slow cooker - flank or chuck?

I am planning to make ropa vieja in the slow cooker. I have seen non-slow cooker recipes that call for flank steak, but I'm not sure how well flank steak would do in the slow cooker -- won't it get tough? I am planning to shred the meat once done. Also, I'm not a stickler for authenticity. :)

Thank you!

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  1. Well, according to my VAST experience of Mexican cooking (hahaha!) a flank steak is the traditional choice for ropa vieja. (Although I know you said you don't give a fig about tradition)!

    And so, according to a very authentic Mexican cook book (Mexico The Beautiful Cookbook), they cook it at a simmer (a 1 lb flank steak, cut into 2-3 pieces) for an hour, in seasoned water, or until tender.

    So my thinking is on low in the slow cooker, for about four hours, would work. You want to cook it until it is tender enough to shred. If you test it after four hours, and it's still not tender enough, leave it in and keep testing it.

    Let me know if you want the recipe I am reading from, I'll be happy to copy it for you! :))

    9 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv

      Mi esposo, the very Puerto Rican mrbushy says flank. The cut won't get tough, rather it will fall apart after a long braise, which is the result you want. Serve with rice and beans (pink.)

      This dish originated in the Canaries and is popular in Cuba, where it reaches national dish status, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Mexico, and a version from Venezuela, called carne mechada.

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Que bueno! Yo no le se que tu esposo es puerto riqueno!! (Sorry, I still need to relearn my spanish verb tenses!! LOL)

        Yo me gusto mucho las comidas de la isla bonita!!

        No wonder he doesn't understand brown bread!! Hahahaha!!

        1. re: Phurstluv

          Mrbushy and his dearly departed mom and various neighbors taught me all I know about las comidas puertoriqueñas.

          Y tu español es muy bueno y muy correcto, tambien.

          Now we can't post in Spanish anymore, as conversing in other than English is somewhat discouraged at Chow. It was fun while is lasted, though.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            I know,. bummer, huh, but muchas gracias pero yo no puedo hablar como yo necesito!!!

            What other puerto rican dishes do you know how to make? My favorite was a friend's mom's coconut flan, which I have the recipe for, but now, can't make since I can't do the dairy!!! Figures!! My luck!

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Flan, yes
              Tostones y maduros
              Arroz con habichuelas o gandules o christos y moros, o habichuelas con calabaza o papa.
              Bistec enpanizado
              Ensalada de yucca
              Arroz con pollo

              y cafe Bustelo, haha.

              That's enough, believe me. It's just the basics. mrbushy actually likes Italian-American food more than anything.

              The OP is going to be overwhelmed.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Wow. Awesome, I know , we should start another post. Lucky you.

                One of these days, I will pick your brain a bit re: those recipes!! I make a lot of mexican, but puerto rican is a bit different, and I would love to see the differences in the two cuisines with the same recipe!!

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  Ok, I'll be happy to share anytime. It was a fortunate thing in my life that I met someone who's culture included a cuisine that I wasn't familiar with, that I enjoy, and that I was able to learn much about.

                  Puerto Rican cuisine is quite a bit different from Mexican. Just for starters, it's not chili- or -corn or chocolate-specific; cooking techniques and ingredients are different, aside from the typical produce, meats and seafood found in the Caribbean and Mexico, and Puerto Rican cuisine doesn't have the heat level, just the sabor.

                  To be honest, I think of Mexican food as a more evolved cuisine, taken to a higher level. It originated as a incorporation of the cuisine of Spain and indigenous peoples of Mexico and was one of the first examples of fusion cooking. I read somewhere that the Spanish Catholic nuns had a big hand in making the classic Mexican moles. Ain't it always the girls.

                  mrbushy can't take too much heat in his food, sad to say, but I've been ramping it up slowly over the years so he has "adjusted." No far, no coughing or choking.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    Hahaha, that's funny, no coughing or choking. I have the opposite problem, my DH LOVES anything so spicy hot you start to sweat, but I have a more limited palate for the heat level, as do the little ones. So we don't make a lot that is super spicy, but hope to one day.

                    And you have a wonderful understanding of the two cuisines, and yes, you are so lucky to have found someone with a culture & cuisine that you enjoy.

                    I just have many fond memories of frequent trips to the island, and the lovely people and their culture and food. Very fun, indeed.