Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dave’s Slow Cooker Cuban Stew

Those of you who know me, know I’m a foodie whose passion is cooking.  I’m always trying to create new dishes out of the same old ingredients, and not unwilling to try new ingredients.  This is a new dish for me.  I’ll tell you what’s in it, and then how I made it, ok?

Image from Real Simple.com
Ingredients
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 four-knob red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 four-knob green bell pepper, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • ½ cup Mojo Criollo
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½-2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (or minute rice)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup  fresh cilantro leaves
Directions
  1. Put the meat into a 1 gallon zip lock freezer bag, and add the Mojo, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.  Squeeze the air out and seal the bag.  Massage the meat until well coated and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion and Mojo from the marinade bag. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Twenty-five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  4. Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and garnish with the avocado and cilantro.
Honestly, this is so full of flavor, if all you did was spoon the juice over rice and eat it with a spoon like soup, you wouldn’t be disappointed!  But here is a key o getting this right.  Americans like to drown their roast beef.  Don’t do it!  I know you’ll look at that crock pot after everything is in it, and say “this needs more liquid!”
Certain vegetables, such as sweet onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes are little more than crunchy water containers.  When you cook them, that water weeps out into the pot. Ditto most roasting beef, chicken and pork, and in the case of the meat, adding water actually dries the tissue of the meat out.  If you’re roasting meat and it is consistently dry, you’re doing one of two things wrong, and often both:  You’re adding water, and you’re not letting it rest before you cut into it.
I made this for dinner today.  I put the meat in the marinade yesterday, and assembled it in the crock pot just before leaving for church.  I cooked it six hours on high, and even knowing what I know I was amazed at the amount of liquid in the pot.  The key to this dish is cooking the meet long enough to easily shred – kind of like pulled pork.  Whether you use Flank Steak, Brisket or London broil for this dish, don’t pay attention to your meat thermometer.  If you go by that for this dish, your meat will be thoroughly cooked, but tough as old shoe leather.  The real beauty of the dish is you use a less expensive cut of meat that ends up as tender as prime rib when properly prepared.
Bon appetit!

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