As I mentioned before, a lot of Colombian cooking is uncomplicated meat and potato type dishes. Ropa vieja, also known as Carne Desmechada (which translates to shredded beef) is an authentic, home-made dish which makes for great comfort food. It’s a classic Colombian dish and goes very well with rice, patacones or arepas. I haven’t tried it yet but it would be great as a filling in a sandwich too.
The recipe is fairly straight forward but it does take some time as the skirt steak takes awhile to cook so I recommend making a big portion. I did a pound of beef this time round but it didn’t last as long as I expected so I’ll definitely be making twice the amount next time.
Here is my take on how to make Carne Desmechada.
What you need:
1 pound flank steak
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 Bay leaf
1 cup of hogao
1. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper and place it in a big pot of water with the herbs and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 2 hours or until it’s tender.
2. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside to cool. Keep the broth.
3. When the beef has cooled down, shred it into small and large pieces using you fingers. You can do it with a knife and fork too if you want to keep your hands clean.
4. In a large saucepan, melt a knob of butter over medium heat and throw in your meat. After a few minutes, put in the hogao and the beef broth from step 2. Reduce heat and cook until the sauce reduces and you get a nice and thick, stewy texture.
5. Serve with rice, arepa or patacones.