Friday, October 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Paleo Ropa Vieja with Cuban "Rice"

When the air starts to cool off and the days slowly begin to shorten, I crave a certain kind of comfort food that only a slow cooker can deliver. I love being able to throw all your ingredients into one pot, leave for the day, and come home to an amazing hot meal! My advice is always to buy the biggest slow cooker you have kitchen storage for, I use a 5.5 quart CrockPot and I have always been able to double recipes without worrying about running out of room.

This week, I made a Ropa Vieja, which is basically the most tender fall apart beef you have ever tasted, and paired it with cauliflower rice that was enhanced with tomato sauce and bacon bits. Do I have your attention now?  The best way to describe the flavors are warm, savory, and smoky. The bacon in the rice definitely adds a little something special to the meal. I was very pleased with the way this turned out! I used Juli's recipe and made a few adaptions which are noted below.

For the ropa vieja
1.5-2lbs chuck roast
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 (6 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
For the Cuban rice
1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and roughly chopped
3 thick sliced of bacon, diced
1 (4 oz) can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Pull out your slow cooker
  2. Add onions and peppers to the bottom of the slow cooker
  3. Place your chuck roast on top and cut 4 deep slits into the meat and push your garlic cloves into the slits.
  4. Add all the spices and salt and pepper.Then add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and bay leaf to the rest of the crockpot. I was worried about the meat drying out so I added about 6oz of water as well (pour on the side so you don't rinse off all the spices you just put on the meat)
  5. Place on low for 8-10 hours. (9 hours for a double batch was perfect)
  6. When your ropa vieja is almost done, it’s time to cook your rice
  7. Add the chopped cauliflower to a food processor with the shredding attachment. And rice the cauliflower
  8. Add the diced bacon to a large saucepan and cook down up bacon has browned and cooked almost completely through, discard about half the grease
  9. Then add the cauliflower, tomato sauce and spices to the saucepan. Mix thoroughly then cover.
  10. Let cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring intermittently to help incorporate all the flavors.
  11. Once your ropa vieja is done cooking, use a two forks to shred your beef. I found it easiest to take the beef out of the slow cooker and put it into a big bowl to shred before returning the meat to the slow cooker and mixing it all together.  Serve ropa vieja on top of Cuban cauliflower rice


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