Tostones Rellenos de Ropa Vieja

Jackfruit works really well for ropa vieja because you can achieve the exact same tender, shredded texture as steak, it takes on the flavor of the sofrito. While my mom and I were tearing up the jackfruit with our hands, my mom told me about how her mother used to shred up the cooked, softened steak with her hands for their ropa vieja dinner. This is my favorite reason to use jackfruit — you can prepare it the same way, shredding with your hands just like your ancestors!

Ingredients (as usual I don’t really measure things so these are approximations)

Tostones

Platanos (green) (each platano will make two “cups”, a good serving size is generally two “cups” per person)

Neutral oil (I used canola)

Salt

[Note on special equipment: there is a special tostonera for making tostones rellenos that makes the bowl/cup sort of shape you see here. If you don’t have it you can either get creative or just make flat tostones with a regular tostonera and pile the ropa vieja on top]

Ropa Vieja

1 can Jackfruit (I used young green canned jackfruit from Trader Joe’s)

1 small onion

8 cloves garlic

1 green bell pepper

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup vegan beef broth or else Trader Joe’s vegetable broth

Olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mojo

7 cloves garlic

Olive oil

1 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional rice

1.5 cups water to 1 cup rice

2 garlic cloves per cup of rice

1 tablespoon olive oil per cup of rice

Pinch salt per cup of rice

Optional parsley

ropa vieja full plate

Instructions

Ropa Vieja

Heat pan, add olive oil. Medium heat. Add diced onion, bell pepper and garlic. (Garlic in last, don’t burn it). Saute until fragrant and softening. Add the rest of the sofrito ingredients.

Drain and rinse jackfruit. Shred it while removing weird looking, unshreddable parts. (Jackfruit looks pretty gross raw, but hey so does meat! 😉

Hold the jackfruit in your hands, squeezing out as much water as you can, kind of like making latkes, then add jackfruit to the sofrito.

Cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Tostones

Heat a lot of oil in a big pan.

Peel platanos, cut off pointy ends, cut in half, fry the chunks until a little tender (don’t cook all the way). Smash them in the tostonera. Fry again until solid. Salt while hot. Drain off oil on a paper towel.

Mojo

Saute garlic in oil until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring, then continue to cook on low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Rice

ropa vieja with rice

Pierce the garlic cloves all over with a fork. You don’t need to peel them, just remove them at the end. Preferably in a rice cooker, add all ingredients except water. Mix together on the “warm” setting. Don’t toast or give any color to the rice, but let it absorb some flavor, saute a little, and get shiny. Then add water, flip switch to “cook” and let it cook. When rice is done, spoon into a small bowl, flip over onto a plate and garnish with parsley.

Plate

Streak the mojo on the plate. Put tostones (not on top of mojo unless you will eat right away or they could get soggy) on plate. Fill with ropa vieja. (Optional: stick tiny batons of colored bell pepper in x formation out of ropa vieja to impress your guests with your presentation, also good if you are competing on Chopped). Serve mojo in a little pour-y cup for guests to add to their taste.

For dessert, try vegan Tres Leches cake.

 

 

 

 

 

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