Today we’re joined by NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Caridad Pineiro who also writes as Charity Pineiro. Caridad/Charity is the author of over forty novels and novellas and was a 2012 RITA Finalist for Best Paranormal Romance. Today she’s here to share a Cuban recipe and tell us about her latest release. Learn more about Caridad/Charity at her website and blog.
My newest release, To Catch Her Man, is set in sexy South Beach, and one of the heroine's friends is a chef, plus the undercover detective with whom the heroine wants to get under the covers is Cuban, so this seems like a good time to share one of my favorite Cuban recipes with you. To Catch Her Man is also part of the Dangerous Dozen Romantic Suspense Boxed Set which is specially priced at .99 for a limited time!
Now a word of warning before I begin this recipe. First, if you go into a Cuban restaurant and they don't have some variation on this dish - RUN! This is a classic dish and I've only gone to one place that didn't have it. Of course, that place also didn't have any plantains on the menu and the bartender didn't know how to make a mojito. It turned out
to be a big mistake.
Also, this dish takes time, but it does triple duty as you'll see from the recipe.
Fun Fact: Ropa vieja means "old clothes" in Spanish. When you think about old clothes being thread-bare and shredded, it kind of makes sense since this is a shredded beef dish.
Preparing the beef for shredding
2 lbs lean brisket (or flank steak) cut into quarters against the grain
2 coarsely chopped onion
2 celery stalks cut in half
2 large carrots - cut in quarters
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 bay leaves
black pepper to taste
Enough water to cover the meat and other ingredients in your pot
Boil the brisket until fork tender. Do not do a hard boil as it will cloud the water, but a soft rolling boil. When fork tender, take the meat out and let it cool. Take out the celery and carrots. Toss the celery *yuk I hate celery*, but save the carrots. They make a nice cold carrot salad.
Preparing the tomato sauce for the beef
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes and one small can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
Start by sauteing the red and green peppers in the olive oil until they begin to soften. Then add the onions and cook until translucent. Do not brown.
Add the garlic and cook it for just a little bit.
Then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves and oregano. Simmer for at least half an hour.
While this is simmering, shred the beef. Brisket and/or flank steak have a very pronounced grain and you can just pull and it will come apart into shreds. Keep them small. No longer than about 2 inches and not very thick either. You want the meat to absorb some of the tomato goodness.
When the beef is shredded, add it to the cooked tomato sauce and then simmer this again for about an hour or so to allow the tomato and beef to marry.
That's it! I usually serve this dish over white rice with a side of ripe plantains.
Now why did I say this dish does triple duty?
Well, you've got that beef broth for starter. In my house I reduce it, add caramelized onions and make onion soup.
Also, I always make extra beef so that I can make another Cuban dish, vaca frita (fried cow.)
I hope you'll try this out one day!
(Thanks to Marc Averette for releasing his ropa vieja photo into the public domain.)
To Catch Her Man
Investigative reporter Sylvia Amenabar must decide between friendship, love and discovering the truth behind a cop's murder. Undercover detective Carlos Ramirez nearly lost his life protecting Sylvia, but knows it'll be a fight to reach her heart. Can they learn to trust one another and find out the truth about a failed assignment that nearly killed Carlos? Or will the secrets of the past cost them the things they hold most dear.
To Catch Her Man is one of the twelve full-length romantic suspense novels featured in The Dangerous Dozen boxed set featuring works by twelve bestselling authors, including Charity Pineiro, Tina Waiscott, Maureen Child, Paige Tyler, Tawny Weber, Nina Bruhns, virna DePaul, Karen Fenech, Kristin Miller, Gennita Low, Joyce Lamb, and Maureen A. Miller.