Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vaca Frita • Fried Cow (Fried Shredded Beef)

I had bought a one pound flank steak thinking I would use it in a stew, but then the temperatures soared this week and I put the stew out of my mind. I decided to make Vaca Frita. Vaca Frita translates to Fried Cow. Who in their right mind would come up with such a name? We're not frying a whole cow!... It's really fried shredded beef and it's simple to make, but I like to complicate things a bit. You see, the flank steak has to boil for about 2 hours, so why not kill two birds with one stone and go ahead and prepare a yummy beef broth which I can use for soup or separate into containers and freeze for another day?

For the Vaca Frita
1 lb Flank Steak
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp dry sherry
olive oil

You can boil your flank steak in water with just a bay leaf and some salt for about two hours, maybe less, just until the meat is tender.

I boiled my flank steak in water to make a broth. I added garlic, onions, bell peppers, celery, carrots, bay leaves, beef bouillon, bijol, and half a tomato.

Once your meat is tender let it cool. Slice it across the grain, cover it with plastic wrap and then pound it with a mallet or rolling pin to separate. Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and bring to a medium high heat. Sautee you onions, peppers and garlic. Add your meat, salt, cumin and dry sherry and quickly toss it in the pan, adding more oil if necessary browning your meat until some pieces become crispy. Serve with white rice and fried plantains. Or if you prefer, you can make a sandwich, a wrap, a taco, etc. Be creative.


  1. it's one of those dishes were everyone I know makes it different (heck even me and my grandma make it different)

    Like my grandma boils the meat (with whatever making a stock usually just garlic, onion, bay leave, and salt) then drains it, cuts it into small steaks. Bitter orange, garlic, and salt get's rubbed all over the meat, you can marinade it for awhile, then fry it in smoking hot lard until browned on all sides.

    U can sauteee a bunch of onions afterwards to top it.

    The other way (which is real real good with rice) is shredding the beef finely like for "ropa vieja" tossing it with lots of bitter orange or lime or lemon, tons of crushed garlic, salt to taste, and thinly sliced julienned onions, marinade like 1-2 hours then fry in a very hot pan in lard in a single layer letting it get browned and crispy on all sides.

    It's super good with rice like that (the shredded version)

  2. Wow! I love this dish, and your pictures look so deliciously tempting! I actually make mine almost exactly as Nathan's grandmother (though I use olive oil instead of lard). Anyway you make it, it's absolutely marvelous with arroz and frijoles (any frijoles) or moros or congrí. Some people like to serve it with yuca, but I prefer to serve it with moros or congrí, boniato frito (fried sweet potato) and a berro (watercress) and avocado salad. SEND ME SOME, PLEASE!!! LOL. XOXOXOX

  3. Mmmm it's like I can almost smell it!
    And guess what?! I'm moving to Florida! Hubby got a new position with his current company this week. Moving in a week and a half. To Jacksonville. I'll give Florida a hello for you when I get there!

  4. Sharline, you sound excited... Good for you! Much luck in your new adventure!

    Pedro, Nathan, I know what you mean, but since I made a soup with it, when I pulled it out of the broth it was already very flavorful. I may use the naranja agria instead of the vino seco next time. :)