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Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

First chili and now this. That's two slow cooker recipes in two weeks: this is some kind of new record for me. As someone who works from home, I don't need recipes that can cook themselves while I'm gone all day - but my clients do! 

To help them out, I'm trying to find more slow cooker recipes that fit our Fat Loss Foodie lifestyle - and this one totally fits the bill.

I first had Ropa Vieja at my in-laws' house in New York. My mother-in-law is from El Salvador and my father-in-law is Cuban, and that means I'm married to a man who knows good Ropa Vieja. As this was cooking all afternoon, I kept hearing, 

"You are KILLING ME. That smells so freaking good but it's not ready to eat yet." 

When it was ready to eat, we both sampled it and decided it was legit - even though it wasn't his mom's exact recipe. She tends to cook more by "feel" and less by following exact recipes. Most of the Ropa Vieja recipes I found online were pretty similar, so I went with one from the ever-hilarious Julie Bauer at PaleOMG and made a few changes.

Using flank steak gives this dish a great source of lean protein. Four ounces of flank steak has around 220 calories: 9-10 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, and around 30 grams of protein. (We like those numbers!)

To avoid over-salting this dish (a common mistake with slow cookers), do not add salt until after the steak is cooked. You start out with a lot of liquid, but as it cooks down and thickens, you'll be left with a very salty finished dish.

Adapted from PaleOMG

INGREDIENTS

1.5-2 lb. flank steak
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, sliced thin (red, yellow, or orange - because we don't do green peppers around here)
1 6-ounce can low-sodium tomato sauce
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs. dried thyme
1 Tbs. dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, sear flank steak on both sides for 3-4 minutes or until browned. 

2. To the bottom of the crock pot, add sliced onions and peppers. Place browned flank steak on top.

3. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, capers, cumin, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf to the crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 5-7 hours.

4. When the Ropa Vieja is done, shred the beef in the crockpot using two forks or a pair of tongs.