Flank Steak with Tomatoes, Olives, and Sweet Peppers

Flank Steak with Tomatoes, Olives, and Sweet Peppers (Serves 4-5)

Ropa Vieja is a popular Caribbean dish of shredded meat in tomato sauce. A Caribbean cook might not recognize my dish as Ropa Vieja, but that is what inspired my work with flank steak and tomatoes. Flank steak is a tough cut of meat that falls apart after a short time in the pressure cooker, so I don’t bother to shred it in advance. You can shred it with your fork while eating.  I have not seen balsamic vinegar as an ingredient in any regional version of Ropa Vieja, but mine includes a generous amount to add sweetness and an attractive bite. I think this meal ranks as one of my best creations.

Prep and Cook Time: 60 minutes

Ingredient list:

Flank steak (1.5-2 pounds)
1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (I enjoy Muir Glenn Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Chipotle Peppers)
1-2 cups of chicken or beef stock
1 can of green olives (look for olives packed in water and salt and nothing else)
1 dry pint of mini sweet peppers (10-12)
2 sweet yellow onions
1 green cabbage
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Ground cumin
Garlic powder
Black pepper

Directions: Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pressure cooker over medium heat. Chop onion into bite-sized pieces. Add to pot and cook several minutes until soft, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Chop into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot. Add chicken or beef stock. Add olives and all liquid in the can. Add a nice dusting of salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and ground cumin. Spice is good so don’t skimp. Season both sides of the flank steak with salt and garlic powder. Cut meat into 3 to 5 pieces as necessary to fit into the pot. Lay meat in pot and cover with diced tomatoes. Add 4 to 5 generous splashes of balsamic vinegar. Lock top on pressure cooker. Increase heat to high. After achieving high pressure, reduce heat to the lowest level consistent with maintaining high pressure. Cook under high pressure for 40 minutes. Turn off heat, allow pressure to come down naturally, and remove top. Meanwhile, chop cabbage into bite-sized strips. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a wok over medium heat. Add cabbage, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. Stir to mix cabbage, spices, and oil evenly. Let cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer a bed of cabbage to plates. Use a slotted spoon to transfer flank steak and vegetables from the pressure cooker to plates. Enjoy!

Notes: Muir Glenn packs a lot of flavor into their Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Chipotle Peppers. If you use another brand, you might need to add additional spices to get the same effect. Maybe some Chipotle Pepper or Cayenne Pepper powder.

I am into cabbage lately, but you could serve Flank Steak with Tomatoes, Olives, and Sweet Peppers over “riced” cauliflower, steamed broccoli, stir fried zucchini, or a host of other choices.

I love my Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top Pressure Cooker 7.4-Quart that I ordered from Amazon.com. After reading a bunch of pressure cooker reviews, I decided to spend a little extra to get the one the New York Times described as the Mercedes-Benz of pressure cookers. I’m glad I did. Kuhn Rikon is a Swiss company. Pressure cookers are so popular in Switzerland that the average household has three! I have not purchased a second one yet, but could use one to prepare vegetables separately while longer cooking meat dishes are in their final minutes.

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