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Ropa Vieja

Everywhere you go in Cuba, you will find a dish called ropa vieja on the menu. In the case of Cuba, a lot of the new Spanish arrivals hailed from the Canary Islands, where ropa vieja had long been a popular dish. After they settled in Cuba, these colonizers continued to cook ropa vieja. The tradition has lasted for generation after generation, and now Cubans regard ropa vieja as a national dish.

6 oz. bacon, roughly chopped
2 lb. flank steak, cut into 1 1⁄2″ strips
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 Cubanelle or green pepper, thinly sliced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried oregano
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 cup (16-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1⁄2 cup halved, pitted, green olives
1⁄3 cup sliced jarred pimiento peppers
3 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Render bacon in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Transfer to a plate, leaving fat in pot.

Season steak with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes; transfer to plate. 

Add onion and peppers; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin, thyme, oregano, garlic, and bay leaf; cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. 

Add wine; cook, scraping bottom of pot, for 1 minute. Return bacon and steak to pot with stock and tomatoes; boil. 

Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until steak is very tender, 2–3 hours. 

Remove steak, and shred; return meat to pot with olives, pimientos, capers, and vinegar. 

Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro before serving.