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This traditionally Cuban dish is like a rich stew, the flank steak broken down to the point of absolute tenderness, hence the name literally translating to "old clothes". I use a couple of our blends and condiments to drastically reduce the shopping list, and make a complex tasting meal that's quite easy to prepare.
2-3 pound piece of flank steak
1 celery stalk (optional)
1 carrot, peeled (optional)
1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2-3 sweet peppers, seeded and sliced, I like a mix of cubanelle and red
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 jar (607 ounces) of small pimiento stuffed olives
Heat a pressure cooker or stock pot heat over medium heat. Rub the flank steak with olive oil and sear both sides until browned (6-8 minutes per side).
Deglaze with 1 cup of water and add 2 tablespoons of Sofrico, the garlic, the celery, the carrot, the gelatin, and any onion skins/trimmings. If pressure cooking, add 1/2 cup additional water and cook at high pressure for 75 minutes with a natural release. If boiling, add just enough water to cover the meat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid slightly open until fully tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
In a large skillet heat heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and peppers and the remaining 1 tablespoon of Sofrico and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8-9 minutes.
Add the white wine and canned tomatoes and stir well to combine, then continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 7-8 minutes more.
Add the Tomato & White Sultana Chutney and stir well. Cook for a few minutes more and then remove from heat and hold until the beef is done cooking. It can safely be held at room temperature.
Remove the beef from the pressure cooker or pot and shred it with forks, it should fall apart easily. The celery and onion skin can be discarded, and the carrot can be chopped and added to the sauce if you prefer some additional sweetness.
Add the beef, olives, and 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid (be sure to add plenty of the hydrated spices) from the pot to the sauce and stir well to distribute.
Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to a sauce that coats the beef well, about 30-40 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and acid, adding some brine form the olive jar if you like.
Serve with black beans* and fluffy white rice‡.
* I will often make lazy black beans when making this dish. Simply heat 3/4 cup of the beef cooking liquid and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon Sofrico, and 2-3 teaspoons Shabazi N38. Add one can of black beans (including the liquid), bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt and vinegar to your tastes.
‡ Make rice as per the directions on the bag, giving it a quick rinse to remove excess starch. Add a big pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of butter for better flavor, and garnish with fresh cilantro and/or Shabazi.
- I often like to add a tablespoon or two of capers to the sauce. It's a great way to add salt and flavor at the same time.
- Same with marinating the meat in a mixture of olive oil, shio koji, and a bit of anchovy or fish sauce.
• I often double this recipe as it freezes great. It's a favorite of my son when mixed into macaroni and cheese.
• I'm working on trying this out with shoyu marinated spaghetti squash and will report back. My intuition is that it will work great and have a similar texture.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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