Cook a big game roast low and slow and discover this amazing Cuban comfort food
I lived for nine years in New York City. Yes, I barely believe it myself looking back now! That is where my love of international cuisine was born, and strangely enough, also where I took up hunting. I remember my first time eating Cuban food at a restaurant in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens called “Cubana Cafe”. I ordered a dish called Ropa Vieja, not knowing anything about this dish, and wondering how the briny olives would work with the rest of the ingredients. I fell in love with this simple comfort food dish, which is a national dish of Cuba.
With a freezer full of pronghorn roasts from my two harvests this year I needed some inspiration for a low and slow recipe that would keep well as leftovers in the fridge for the rest of a busy week. My mind drifted back to that cafe in Brooklyn and I tried my best to re-capture that dish with wild pronghorn antelope in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where I now live.
Cuban Pronghorn Ropa Vieja
- 2 lbs pronghorn roast or any flank steak or roast
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 bell peppers chopped
- 1 tbsp iodized salt
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 tsp paprika not smoked
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 28 oz whole peeled tomatoes
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup pitted green olives sliced lengthwise
- 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
- Chopped cilantro, white rice, and black beans for serving
- Preheat oven to 275°F
- Thoroughly dry roast with paper towels. I prefer to brown meat unseasoned, but salt and pepper if you'd like.
- Heat oil on high in an ovenproof pan; a lidded enameled cast iron works best.
- Brown meat on all sides, move to plate.
- Cook onion, bell peppers, and salt until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pan, until vegetables are brown.
- Add white wine and cook while stirring until evaporated.
- Add paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne. Stir.
- Add tomatoes and break up with a spoon.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes.
- Place roast into liquid and add bay leaf.
- Cover and move to oven.
- Cook for 3 hours or until meat is easily shredded with fork.
- Remove meat from liquid, discard bay leaves, let cool 15 minutes.
- Use 2 forks to shred meat.
- Return meat to pan, add olives and vinegar.
- Serve with cilantro, rice, and beans.