Happy New Year – Puerto Rican Style!

Happy New Year to all! Today we put the glories of 2004 behind us, and move ahead to a brand new year full of possibilities!

For Christmas, Sue had bought me a couple of Puerto Rican cookbooks. So today, we decided to celebrate the day with a Puerto Rican meal consisting of Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), Tostones (fried plantains), and Rice & Beans. We actually ended up using both books, since the Ropa recipe was in one and the other two recipies are in the other.

Since we had planned this meal in advance, we had spent the last few days shopping for the ingredients. Ropa Vieja is made from beef brisket. We needed 3 pounds for the recipe, but were having trouble finding a cut that size. Eventually, our local Heinen’s came through!

Finding ripe plantains was our next challenge. Our local supermarket (Catalano’s), had black and moldy plantains. We tried Giant Eagle … again, more mold. Finally, we found fresh plantains at our local Tops Supermarket. Whew!

We started the prep work around 9:00 am on Saturday, Jan 1. Prepping the brisket, onions, peppers, about two hours. Then the brisket had to cook for 3 hours! Plus, of course, we had to prepare all the pieces for rice and beans (actually rice, beans, onion, green pepper, and ham combined together), and the plantains.  When all was done, 6 hours had passed.

But, boy oh boy was it worth it! The meal was absolutely fabulous! The Ropa Vieja was comparable to that found at the Cuban Corner in Rockville, the beans and rice was 100 times better than any Goya supermarket mix, and the Tostones matched those made by Grandma Caban.

We have enough food to last several days, for which we are very happy!  Happy New Year!



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