Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef Stew)

Serves 6-8

2-3 lbs skirt or flank steak
8 cups water
2 large carrots, chopped
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
6-8 cloves of garlic, cut into quarters
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all the above ingredients in a large stew pot. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid, and cook for two hours, or until meat falls apart easily using a fork. Remove meat from liquid and cool. Strain liquid from pot, and retain it. Discard vegetables and everything else that remains in the strainer.

1 green bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into long strips
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups leftover braising liquid (see above)
14 oz can whole tomatoes with juice, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped Spanish olives stuffed with pimento
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2. Clean and dry original stew pot. Heat up oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, green bell pepper and garlic, then saute for 7-10 mins.

3. While peppers and onions are cooking, shred the meat.

4. Add tomatoes to stew pot. Simmer 10 mins. Then add all the meat, cumin, paprika, oregano and the braising liquid. Bring to a simmer again. Then cover and cook for 1 hour.

5. Add rest of the bell pepper and cook for another 30 mins.

6. Add chopped olives and cook for a further 15 mins.

7. Serve with crusty bread or over saffron rice. This stew tastes even better the next day, and stores well in the fridge for 3-5 days. Or you can always freeze it.