Closing the Doors

January 3, 1961

After Fidel Castro gained control of Cuba in 1959, relations with the United States took a turn for the worse. Cuba was quite anti-American at that point, to say the very least, and America was concerned that communism in the western hemisphere was just a little too close to home. In 1960, Castro decided to sign a trade treaty with the Soviet Union, and in turn President Eisenhower decided it was time to train a bunch of Cuban exiles to overthrow their leader. Fidel Castro began intensifying his program that nationalized foreign properties and companies, and the US cut back on trading with Cuba. By January 3, 1961, President Eisenhower determined that the best course of action was closing the American embassy in Havana and severing all diplomatic relations.

Ropa Vieja

Ropa vieja is translated “Old Clothes.” The most popular legend surrounding the name of this Cuban dish tells of a man who was too poor to feed his family. When his family planned to visit, there was no money for food to put on his table. He went to his closet, gathered some old clothes and filled them with love. As the clothes stewed together in a boiling pot, the man’s love for his family magically turned the old clothes into food for the table.

1 T vegetable oil
2 pounds beef flank steak
1 cup beef broth
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 T olive oil
1 T white vinegar
Options: serve in tortillas or over rice

Heat the vegetable oil in the skillet on medium, sear the flank steak for 3-5 minutes on each side. Place the beef into a crock pot; add the remaining ingredients. Stir the ingredients together, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred the meat and serve with tortillas or over rice.

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