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Ropa Vieja

This Mexican recipe is a thick meaty stew.  It is delicious, even to a person who is not usually a fan of Mexican spicy foods.  "The trick lies in cooking the meat until it is almost falling apart, then teasing it into shreds with two forks.  Prepare the meat first."  I didn't have any steak on hand, so I used ground beef, and it was very tasty like that!

Serves 4-6.

1kg (2lb) chuck steak, cubed (or ground beef)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water or beef stock
1 can (or 500g/1lb fresh) tomatoes

Bring meat to a boil with all other ingredients except the tomatoes.  Cover and simmer over very low heat for 2-3 hours (using ground beef shortens this time dramatically as it only needs to simmer until the ground beef is cooked through).  After the first hour, add the tomatoes: they should simmer with the meat for at least 45 minutes (even if you use ground beef - this is to make the flavour better).  Meanwhile, prepare the following;

2 capsicums, one red and one green (bell peppers)
2 boiled potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil

De-seed, de-vein and slice the peppers.  Slice the potatoes.  Fry them both together in the oil in a skillet or frying pan until the peppers are tender, then add to the meat.  Cook very gently until the liquid has almost all evaporated.

Serve with boiled rice or tortillas - or boiled potatoes if you're not too much of a traditionalist when it comes to Mexican foods!

*From Mexican Cooking by Roger Hicks

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