Two meaty, flavor-packed recipes: Pork tenderloin, Ropa vieja

This week’s recipes have Cuban and Puerto Rican roots, thanks to a reader’s neighbor.

Food forum

LAKE STEVENS — A little while back, I received a treasure trove of recipes, collected over a period of 30+ years, from reader Vicky Paulson.

Vicky assured me that all recipes have been tested and served over the years, including this pork tenderloin main and ropa vieja (a Cuban dish, typically with braised flank steak) from one of Vicky’s first neighbors in Lake Stevens.

“Lisa’s Cuban/Puerto Rican heritage contributed the two following mouth watering recipes to our family,” Vicky wrote. “All notes in parentheses are hers, as she was a wonderful cook and assumed we knew what she intended.”

We are sharing Lisa’s recipes mostly as is, to preserve her words and methods. Garlic lovers, you’ll especially love the first one.

Lisa’s Pork Tenderloin

2 (or 1) pork tenderloins

2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil

1 tablespoon peanut oil

20 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup dry sherry

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons black bean chili sauce

1 bunch of cilantro

Roast pork tenderloins for 15 to 17 minutes in a 325-degree oven (I cut slices in the middle). Meanwhile, heat sesame oil and peanut oil (I use olive oil when I don’t have peanut) in a pan on medium heat. Add garlic and sauté’, then add sherry and rest of ingredients except for the cilantro (after all is cooked).

Slice tenderloin and pour sauce over. Top with cilantro.

Lisa’s Ropa Vieja (Vicky’s husband’s favorite)

2 pounds* beef flank steak

1 cup flank stock (see below)

One big yellow onion, diced (not Vidalia too mild)

One green pepper*, diced

A bunch of garlic (5 or 6 cloves)

16 ounces (two 8-ounce cans) tomato sauce

1 tablespoon oregano

Big splash of red wine

A few splashes of wine vinegar

A few shakes of cumin

2 tablespoons sugar

3 or 4 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

For the sauce (easy), sauté yellow onion, green pepper and garlic. Let all the ingredients get happy for about 20 minutes. Throw in about 16 ounces (2 cans) of tomato sauce, oregano, flank stock, red wine, wine vinegar, cumin, sugar and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Let this get happy for about 45 minutes on medium-low heat.

Meanwhile start shredding the flank — Lisa uses scissors — shredding the big chunks by hand. Throw it into the sauce, mix it in and let it cook for 30 minutes or as long as you want on low. Serve with peas on top. (They’re the bomb)

*Taylor’s notes: I couldn’t find the amount of flank steak in the recipe, but I would guess around 2 pounds based on similar recipes. I assume a green sweet or green bell pepper would work here.

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