Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seitan Ropa Vieja, Cuban Beans, Tostones

Ropa Vieja literally translated means "old clothes." This dish does not look or taste like old clothes, thankfully but traditionally involves a steak dish in tomato based sauce. My version features seitan, with peppers and onions.

A friend recently suggested I cook with more plantains and she suggested making some tostones. Tostones are unripe plantains sliced, fried, smashed and fried again for a wonderfully creamy interior and crisp salty exterior. Slice the plantains into circles to smash for a base to a great looking hand held appetizer.

Slow simmered seitan with jalapenos and green peppers in cilantro-tomato sauce, served with a Cuban bean dish of pinto beans with lime, red bell peppers and onion. Twice fried plantain slices top the dish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

Seitan Ropa Vieja

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 package seitan, cut into strips
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup no-chicken vegetable broth
1/2 white onion, thin strips
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1-15oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbl chopped cilantro

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbl of oil and saute the seitan seasoned with salt and pepper, until crisp and golden brown. Add the vegetable broth and simmer until the broth has almost reduced fully. Transfer seitan to a plate and add the remaining 2 tbl of oil to the pan. Sweat the onions and green bell pepper for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeno and saute 4 minutes more to allow the jalapeno to soften. Add the crushed tomatoes and 1 tbl of cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes until thick and stew-like. Season if necessary. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Cuban Beans

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, small dice
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 jalapeno, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1-15oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 lime, cut in half
2 cups no-chicken vegetable broth
1 tbl chopped fresh cilantro

In a small stock pot, heat the oil and saute the onions and peppers until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook for 4 minutes more. Add the cumin. Add pinto beans and halved lime (squeezing the juice out first) and broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and cilantro and discard lime halves once ready to serve.


canola oil for frying
2 plantains, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
fleur de sel or sea

Fill a deep saute pan with canola oil and bring to 360 degrees. Fry the plantain slices until they start to soften but are not fully cooked. Drain on a paper towel and smash into thinner slices. (I used the bottom of a mug!) Reheat the oil to 360 and fry until golden brown and crisp. Drain again on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Eat immediately.

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