I’m quite sure this version of ropa vieja would make any Cuban Cook gasp for breath and run screaming out of the room, but it’s close enough to make me happy when I need an easy fix.
Traditionally you use flank steak and shred it after some long, slow cooking in a pot. Carne picada, which is always available at Walmart, makes a fine – and cheap – substitute. Especially if you found the carne picada in the marked-down meat section. You know how I love me some marked-down meat!
I kinda hate it when blogs have 1,000 giant photos of the food before they get to the recipe, so I’ll give you the recipe first. You’re welcome.
- 2 pounds (or so) carne picada
- 16 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 10-oz bags of Pictsweet seasoning blend 
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 jar pimento-stuffed green olives (halved or sliced if you're feeling fancy)
- 2 tablespoons capers (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- frozen peas to taste (a 10 ounce bag will do)
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Put all ingredients except the peas and cilantro into a 4-6 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the frozen peas. Stir in the chopped cilantro when you're ready to serve. This is great served over white rice and with a side of black beans. Pretend the peas satisfy the vegetable requirement for the meal or eat a nice salad on the side.
- If you saute the seasoning blend, garlic, oregano and cumin first it will be extra yummy. But I'm usually too lazy to be bothered.
Ok, now I’ll do all the giant pictures.
In the recipe I list Pictsweet seasoning blend, which has diced onions, red & green bell pepper, and celery. I actually use “Fresh Frozen Foods” brand but I believe it’s only available in the Southeastern U.S. and some of the Caribbean islands.
The last time I made this I was feeling extra spunky, so I sauteed the seasoning blend, garlic, and spices before pouring them into the slow cooker.
And the finished product. Ta-da!
Have you heard of carne picada? What have you used it in?