Anyone who cooks for a family knows that a recipe everybody likes is a find. Whatever you decide to make, there’s usually at least one person who refuses to eat it. For our family, this smoky chipotle turkey chili is an exception. It’s a favorite with everyone, and it’s become a family tradition. We serve it even on special occasions, like Sunday dinner and birthdays. When my college-age daughters moved out of the house, it wasn’t long before they called home and asked for the recipe.
It’s been cold here in Salt Lake City – really cold, like single digit lows at night and highs in the teens during the day. It’s a perfect time to cook up something warm and spicy, like this Ropa Vieja beef stew. “Ropa vieja” is Spanish for “old clothes,” and this dish is traditional in Cuba. The name is a play on the ragged shreds of beef that are cooked in a peppery tomato broth and served over rice.
This version of Ropa Vieja is adapted for the slow cooker, so it doesn’t use traditional browning and braising techniques. To be honest, I don’t know much about Cuban food, but I love this dish. Most Ropa Vieja recipes call for flank steak, which tastes amazing and shreds beautifully, but can cost $8 or more per pound. I’ve substituted rump roast, which was on sale for $2.99 a pound when I bought it for this recipe, putting it on a par with chicken breast. I like beef as much as the next girl, but if I’m going to spend $8 a pound on steak I’ll probably use it in a recipe that showcases the meat a little more. This recipe makes eight large or 12 medium servings, so unless you have a big family, you can put half of it in the freezer for a day when you don’t have time to cook.