Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja in Spanish means "old clothes", but don't's much, much tastier than that.  It's a traditional Cuban beef dish with shredded beef, green peppers, onions and tomatoes.  There's a joint nearby that serves a great version, but the best I've ever had was at a Cuban restaurant in Key West called  El Siboney. Here's what their version looks like:

The version I came up with came had a bit more of a tomato base than this one, which was fine.  I also served it with yellow rice and beans, but I also added some pico de gallo and queso fresca.  Came out great!

Ropa Vieja (Old Clothes)

  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion - sliced thin
  • 2 green bell peppers - seeded and sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (homemade or otherwise)
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro - chopped
 - Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the flank steak in the vegetable oil on both sides for about 5 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and set aside.

 - Add the broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cumin, vinegar and cilantro into either a slow cooker or a large sauce pot if you plan on cooking it on the stove top. Whisk thoroughly.  Add the beef, onions and peppers and mix.  If you are using a slow cooker set it to low and walk away for 6 hours or so.  If you are cooking it on the stove top, cook it on low with a tight lid for around 4 hours.  Stirring only occasionally

 - Remove the flank steak from the stew, and set aside to cool...say 15 minutes.  Shred the steak with either a couple of forks or your hands. I suggest your hands. How often do we, as adults, get to play with our food like that. Add the shredded beef back to the pot, turn up the flame a bit and heat for 5 minutes or so until it's nice and hot.

 - Serve with warm tortillas, yellow rice, beans (I used kidney beans in a chili sauce), pico de gallo and queso fresca.

I didn't think to take any pictures of it when we had it for dinner, but here's a picture of a plate I put together the next day for lunch.


  1. That looks sooo delicious. Waah. I want someone to cook it for me.

  2. That looks great Earl, glad you posted it after you mentioned it on the email. I'm thinking about making this today for Sunday football!! Thanks.

  3. OK I made it today and it was GREAT! Served it with soft flour tortillas to wrap, grated cheese and greek yogurt. NICE. It did it stovetop in a big pot and only change I made was I used a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies instead of tomato sauce and added about 1/2 cup of chopped green olives about halfway through the cooking time. Que Rico!

  4. The addition of the chopped green olives sounds tasty! I dig! Glad you liked it.