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A Cuban Sauce With Soul

Ropa vieja (left) a traditional Cuban dish made with a tomato based sauce.

In the midst of a series on sauces from Africa to America; today I am talking about the sauce served with the Cuban dish ropa vieja or old clothes. This dish fits my working definition of soul fooda fabulous-tasting dish made from simple, inexpensive ingredients and Soul food is enjoyed by folk, whom it reminds of their rural and African roots and cultures, as well as adaptations to conditions of slavery and freedom in the Americas. The ropa vieja is sautéed shredded beef covered with a rich tomato based sauce seasoned with spices and vegetables such as onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, and cilantro. Here are two recipes for ropa vieja a traditional Cuban dish:

Traditional ropa vieja recipe: http://inatinykitchen.blogspot.com/2006/11/ropa-vieja.html

Vegan ropa vieja recipe: http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=27125

Crawfish étouffée: a luscious tomato based sauce with history

Spiced Lamb Balls with Pilli-Pilli Sauce from Burkina Faso, Africa