Enjoy some ‘Ropa Vieja’

Author: DJ Nasty Naz  //  Category: General

Flava of tha week


Things have been crazy since I got back from Vegas, with many follow up calls, offers for gigs in foreign lands, even gigs in 2012 (!) already booked and paid for. I definitely think that 2009 is going to finish strong. I need to go somewhere warm for the holidays to take a break I think. My friend Marko decided to go to Cuba this week, for a wedding, he was gone for two days, but the size of the suitcase he carried was INSANE. It was a four feet high suitcase that he bought at like Canadian Tire or something (that place sells everything).

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Can’t make it to Cuba? Try this recipe instead!

We all joked with him, telling him not to try and smuggle any “Juanita’s or Maria’s” back to Fredericton in his suitcase. I mean really, if you are going to a tropical island how much stuff can you possibly need. I am on tour a lot and I can fit a LOT of my clothes in like a carry-on. I told him that was the difference between seasoned travelers. I don’t even check my bags anymore.

Speaking of clothes and Cuba, it’s only fitting to do up something with that in mind. Ropa Vieja “” which means ‘old clothes’ in Spanish (I’m not saying my buddy has old clothes, although I have seen him wear some ripped jeans before). Anyway, it’s a Cuban dish made by braising beef until it is so tender it literally shreds right off. The meet is so soft it can be used for tacos as well (or even a left over salad).


– 1lb flank steak

– 3 chopped garlic cloves

– 2 each red & green bell peppers sliced.

– ½ cup grated carrots

– 2 red onions sliced

– 4 tblsp of sliced pitted green olives

– 1 tblsp of Tomato Paste

– 2 Bay Leaves

– ½ cup of freshly chopped cilantro


Add a little bit of oil to the pan and then the steak. Cook for about two minutes on each side, basically so you can get a nice golden brown colour and seal the meat.

Add the onions, sliced bell peppers and garlic, and cook for about five minutes or so. You can then throw in the olives and all the other ingredients, including your seasonings.

Your tomato paste and bay leaves and about five cups of water can now be added to the pot. This is where you should set up a game of chess or dominoes or something because this is where we play the waiting game.

You will need to reduce the heat and cover the pot and let it simmer for about two hours, basically until the meat is really tender. You should definitely check the pot so that you keep putting more water, to not dry it out or burn it.

Remove the steaks and using a fork, simply shred it. Once this is done you can re-add the rest of the stuff you originally had and give it a quick stir fry.

“Ole” you are all done. Serve on some warm or toasted tacos and it will be great. Now you see why they call the dish “Old Clothes”..? Cause it literally looks like some busted up rags – it definitely tastes better than chewing on some old jeans though.

DJ Nasty Naz’s professional career in the music industry as a tour chef, tour hype man and a tour DJ has allowed him to work with artists like the Black Eyed Peas, The Game, Akon, Wyclef, Danny Fernandes and Sean Paul, to name a few. This attitude of continuously being on the grind has pitched this Trinidadian-born entrepreneur into a class of his own, with not only being a top DJ in the East Coast, but to having an award winning restaurant in Fredericton “Caribbean Flavas”.

His skills in the kitchen have allowed him to cater for a number of groups, including Akon, Sean Kingston, Girlicious, Hedley, The Trews, and even rock and roll legend, Leonard Cohen.

DJ Nasty Naz Flava of the Week is a weekly column where Naz takes readers inside his world of cooking, performing and rubbing elbows with the stars.

For more information on DJ Nasty Naz, visit www.djnastynaz.com, Join the “fan page” www.facebook.com/djnastynaz. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/djnastynaz.

Or, to taste d’island life, visit Caribbean Flavas on 123 York St, Fredericton.