Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Betty Crocker Project : Cuban Beef-Less Steak Dinner (similar to Ropa Vieja)

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Our Cubanelles began to ripen while we were away - making them them beautiful and multi-colored.  
So there's this thing that happens when you get back from an adventure: you realize how many little things you do every day in your regular life. I came home with a small stack of Italian, Greek, and Turkish cookbooks, and dreams of bringing our adventure to your kitchen and tummies, but sadly this required fresh vegetables and bread, which we didn't have. It also required time that was quickly eaten up by catching up on emails and news, following up on our new blog/website, unpacking, and various other forms of being "productive."

Which brings us to today. I had planned to post a recipe today for Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Artichokes) but yesterday I burnt the first and second batches. I know. I can't believe it either. But those little jerks were singed beyond being pretty - although I admit I cut off all the crunchy leaves and still enjoyed the filling and hearts with lemon, all while being reminded the hard way that even the easiest recipes require your undivided attention. So today I have a new bag of artichokes and we're going to try again, because this is a recipe I really believe will improve all your lives. 

So today I'm posting a recipe that I was saving for our friend Cassandra's birthday this summer. Right now our beautiful vegan friend is in medical school in Cuba and making the world a better place. We had planned to add this recipe to our New Friday Philosophy; which usually involves Mexican food, but sometimes you just have to get a little crazy and mix it up*. This recipe is similar to a Cuban dish called Ropa Vieja, except we skip the cows. It may look like something you've had before, but there's a unique fresh flavor from the Cubanellle peppers that really comes out with the lime juice and a subtle sweetness from the rum. It's a lot like our Cassandra. It's also super easy and can be made using things you have hanging around your house; well, except the fancy peppers that you can easily replace with green and red peppers. So tomorrow night when you get home from work, all cold and kinda beat, you can treat yourself to something a little more exotic than the typical soy cheese pizza or veggie burgers** before hitting the town. 

May the New Friday Philosophy be with you! 

Cuban Beef-Less Steak Dinner 

  • 3 Cups Brown Rice (cooked) 
  • 2 Packages Gardein Beef-Less Tips (defrosted)
  • 2 Cubanelle Peppers (sliced; can be replaced with Green or Red Bell Peppers)
  • 1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed) 
  • 1 Red Onion (thinly sliced) 
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Bay Leaf 
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Braggs Liquid Amino Acids
  • Dash Liquid Smoke
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Rum
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce 
  • 2/3 Cup Better Than Bouillon - Vegan Beef Broth (made per instructions on the package)
  • Crushed Pink Himalayan Salt and Crushed Black Peppercorns to taste
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • Fresh Cilantro, Lime Wedges and Sliced Avocado on the side (optional) 

Make your Brown Rice.

Spray your neglected but faithful cast iron skillet with Olive Oil Cooking Spray and heat over a medium heat. Once your skillet is hot, toss in the Vegan Beef, Onions, and Peppers and cook evenly. Remove your skillet from heat once your Vegan Beef is golden brown and has crispy edges. 

While your skillet is heating up, mix your Black Beans, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, Cumin, Bay Leaf, Garlic, Braggs, Liquid Smoke, Lime Juice, Rum, Hot Sauce, and Vegan Beef Broth in a sauce pan or Dutch oven and heat over a medium heat. Stir occasionally, but leave uncovered. Once it begins to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for another 5-8 minutes or until your sauce reduces to the consistency of a gravy. Your Beans will start to break down; they're suppose to so don't worry. 

Mix your Peppers and Vegan Beef into the sauce and serve over Brown Rice with some Cilantro over the top and Lime Wedges or Avocado to give it a little more, ya know, awesome. 

*We're super wild around here. 

**Both highly respected dishes around The Shannon Homestead but I think you know what I mean. 

1 comment:

  1. I just made this and it is yummy. The cubanelle peppers , lime and rum make it a unique recipe - very fresh-tasting, with subtle heat. A perfect antidote to late winter doldrums; brings you hope of spring and Cinco de Mayo around the corner. Next time I make this, I'll be sure to buy more limes to blend up some margaritas as well!