We all know I love cooking, and I love it even more as I know how powerful it can be as I raise a multicultural family. Cooking traditional Latin dishes helps me share part of my culture in a way that is natural and not forced. Seeing Little L and Mr. B enjoy a big plate of Ropa Vieja last night, followed by a “que rico“, was the highlight of my weekend.
This traditional Cuban dish has made its way all around Latin American and the world, because of how comforting, flavorful and delicious it is. Roba Vieja literally means old clothes which is supposed to be represented by the shredded beef. A key ingredient in traditional Ropa vieja are pimiento-stuffed green olives, which normally are added at the end as a way to incorporate more texture and a touch of briny and acidic taste to the dish. Unfortunately Mr. B is not an olives fan, so this is how the pineapple idea came to mind. I thought of pineapple because it is a tropical fruit that goes amazingly well with beef and savory dishes like this one. It also adds that acidic touch that would be missing from the olives and both me and my family love it, so I knew it would be a win-win. We totally scored! I highly suggest you try this. It is amazing!
The beauty of this recipe is that I’ve done it in a slow cooker, so all you got to do is place the ingredients in the crock pot and let it do its magic. The seasoned beef sits on a bed of onions, peppers and garlic, then tomato sauce is added along with Kikkoman soy sauce as a flavor enhancer that also naturally gives color and browns the overall Ropa Vieja sauce.
The way I have incorporated the pineapple has been by adding pineapple juice as part of the cooking liquids, and by topping the meat with pineapple chunks so it all cooks together.
After 5 hours on the slow cooker and hardly any work, you will have a tender shredded beef dish that tastes incredibly good. I love how the pineapple and specially the soy sauce give this dish an added boost of flavor. I like using Kikkoman soy sauce in my cooking, as 1/2 teaspoon of Kikkoman soy sauce has a lower sodium content, by 1,000 mg. than 1/2 teaspoon of table salt. And it’s a versatile ingredient that can be used to cook many different types of cuisine.
This is what I call a plate full of love that tastes just like home. I will definitely cook this more often, and I bet my daughter will grow loving it just as much as I do. Make sure you try it too.
- 2 pounds beef flank steak
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 small vidalia onion, sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, julienned
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup Kikkoman soy sauce
- 1½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 20 ounces pineapple chunks
- Season flank steak with salt, oregano, paprika, cumin, black pepper and nut meg. Set aside.
- Place the onion, pepper and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Lay the flank steak on top of the bed of onion, pepper and garlic.
- Add the Kikkoman soy sauce as well as the pineapple juice, beef broth, apple cider vinegar and tomato sauce.
- Move beef around so it's barely or just slightly covered by the liquids.
- Top with pineapple chunks.
- Cook in a slow cooker on high for 5 hours.
- Once cooked remove the meet from the slow cooker and shredded it with the help of a fork.
- Serve it with some of the sauce and topped by the onions, peppers and pineapple.