A favorite lunch destination outside Havana is La Casa de Campesino, a restaurant located on a small farm on what was once a French-owned coffee plantation. Seated under a shady thatched veranda, we watched the antics of the farm cats, dogs, chickens, and a gloriously colorful peacock while enjoying classic country dishes like masitas de puerco, velvety black beans, fluffy white rice, ropa vieja, and a salad of perfectly ripe tomatoes and crisp cucumbers, thinly sliced and simply dressed with olive oil and vinegar. I especially liked the ropa vieja, and the chef, Raquel, generously shared her recipe with me. The recipe for Caldo de Res (Beef Broth) produces the flavorful flank steak used here. Serve this over Arroz Blanco (White Rice).
Place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, tomato sauce, and wine. Add the shredded flank steak and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring gently, for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.
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