Ropa Vieja w/ Black Beans & Fried Sweet Plantains

Culantro is an herb similar to cilantro, but with a more pungent taste and a long jagged leaf. It can go by many names including Saw Tooth Coriander, Thai Coriander, and Recao, and is used in Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, and West Indian food. It's an optional ingredient in the recipe but if you can find it, it adds a distinct layer of flavor.

The liquid left over from cooking your beans is essentially bean broth. It is full of flavor. I like to save it and use it to fortify other dishes. Same goes for the beef broth that is left over from cooking the flank steak. If like me you always have a bag of frozen cheese tortellini in your fridge then in a pinch you can put together one of my all time favorite dishes-tortellini en brodo.

This dinner serves 4


For the ropa vieja:

2 pounds of flank steak

1 small onion, peeled and halved

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup dry red wine

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup reserved beef broth