This easy preparation of flank steak yields fork-tender meat with minimal effort.  You can skip the searing step in the interest of time, but the browning of the meat adds a depth of flavor that really makes a big difference in the end result.

Makes about 3 packed cups

2 Tbs. cooking fat of your choice (lard, ghee, duck fat)

1 whole grass fed flank steak (about 2 lbs.)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 bay leaf

½ cup orange juice

3 cups chicken stock, beef broth, or bone broth

Preheat oven to 300F.  Slice beef across the grain into 2-in. wide strips and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a 3-4 quart dutch oven pot and brown half the meat for about 7-9 minutes, flipping once.  Transfer seared meat to a plate and repeat with remaining meat. 

Stir cumin and bay leaf in pot for about 30 seconds.  Deglaze pot by pouring in orange juice and stirring to dissolve any browned bits.  Return meat to pot and add chicken stock.  The liquid should just barely cover the meat, so add more water if necessary.  Bring mixture to a simmer, then cover pot and transfer to the oven.  Cook 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.

Alternative cooking methods:

Pressure cooker:  This will cut down on cooking time drastically.  After you add the liquid, you cook the meat under high pressure for 24 minutes, and then allow the pot to come back to pressure naturally.

Slow cooker: You proceed with the recipe as directed, but at the end, you transfer the contents to a slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Ideas for using the meat:

Toss the drained shredded meat with your favorite salsa and place in lettuce cups topped with sliced avocados.

Heat 2 Tbs. ghee in large sauté pan.over medium-high heat.  Add 1 thinly sliced onion and 2 thinly sliced red peppers for 7-9 minutes, or until onions are starting to become golden.  Stir 2 Tbs. tomato paste and cook 1 minute more.  Add 1-2 cups meat plus ½ cup braising liquid and bring mixture to a simmer.  Add some chopped olives and you have a quick ropa vieja.  Top with diced raw onions and cilantro, if desired.

Mix warm shredded beef with lime juice, cilantro, and raw onion, and serve over a roasted or steamed sweet potato.

Fold ropa vieja mixture into an omelet.

Saute 1 finely diced onion and 2 finely diced carrots in 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat in large pot for about 7 minutes.  Add braising liquid and about 3-4 cups chicken stock and bring mixture to a simmer.  Cook 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and add 1 cup of meat. Cook 2-3 minutes more and serve soup with lime wedges and diced avocado.

During the last 30 minutes of braising, add 4 cups of washed prepped kale or collard greens.

Add more spices or herbs to the braise like garlic cloves, fresh oregano, cinnamon, or dried chili peppers.