As I’ve said before, Alma de Cuba is one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia. I’ve shared my version of their Skirt Steak and today’s I’m sharing my version of another favorite – Vaca Frita! Vaca Frita means fried cow in Spanish. In the traditional recipe, flank steak or skirt steak are cooked twice creating a delectable dish. My recipe uses boneless chuck roast instead of skirt steak for two reasons – first, I’m serving four people and a chuck roast is just the perfect size for us and second, skirt and flank steaks are just so darn expensive for the smallest steak. I have to say that after shredding and frying the roast no one would have been able to tell the difference! This is another winner – the combined flavors of the fried shredded meat along with the onions & peppers was stupendous…and with the addition of a side of Spanish Red Rice and Goya Maduros…all I can say is WOW! Go ahead, give it a try…all of these flavors together are just incredible!
2 1/2 lbs boneless chuck roast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 package Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (or Tropicana Pure Premium)
2 cups water
1 large Spanish onion, sliced thin
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
canola oil (as needed)
sprinkling of cumin, garlic powder & salt
Place the oil and the roast in a large deep skillet. Turn the heat up to high. Sprinkle on the packet of Sazon and add the chopped onion. Add the bay leaf, red wine, orange juice and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 2 hours.
When the roast is almost done the first cooking, sauté the sliced onions & peppers until tender-crisp.
Meanwhile, shred the roast, discarding the fat. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime all over the shredded beef. In a skillet, heat canola oil and a batch of the shredded beef on high heat. Sprinkle with cumin, garlic powder and salt; turning the beef to crisp up all sides (5-7 minutes). Fry the shredded beef in more than one batch so as not to overcrowd the skillet. This is the second cooking that is required to make this officially fried cow or Vaca Frita!
To serve: Top the crispy shredded beef with the sautéed onions & peppers and squeeze with additional lime juice. I recommend serving with a side of Spanish Red Rice and Goya Maduros to get the full flavor combination!