Recipes · Cooking tips · Techniques

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja is a traditional Cuban dish that’s easy to make and delicious. The literal translation of ropa vieja is “old clothes”, odd I know. It’s called this because the shredded beef resembles tattered, old clothes. What it actually is: Steak, usually flank, that’s boiled, shredded and cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. Serve ropa vieja with white rice and a side like fried sweet plantains or tostones for a filling and delicious Cuban-style dinner your family will love. Want to try more Cuban food recipes? Try this easy bistec en cazuela, or this turkey picadillo that will not disappoint. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

1½ lb. Flank Steak (1 or 2 steaks)

4 cups Beef Broth

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, thinly sliced

3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced

¼ tsp. Dried Oregano

¼ tsp. Cumin

¼ tsp. Black Pepper

½ cup White Wine

8 oz. Tomato Sauce

1 Bay Leaf

Salt, to taste – only if needed

 

Prep work

Flank steak typically comes in large pieces. Cut it in half so you can arrange it in the pot without folding or overlapping.

Ropa Vieja ingredients, prepared and arranged on a wood cutting board

 

Instructions

Add the steak pieces and beef broth to in a large pot. Set the pot over high heat. When the broth comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook 15 minutes. Turn the steaks, lower the heat to medium-low and cook 30 minutes. Turn the flank steak again about halfway through the cooking time. Keep the broth at a simmer, if it’s boiling too vigorously too much of it will cook away. We want to keep some of that delicious stock for the sauce.

 

Place the steak on a cutting board or pan and allow it to cool. Leave the broth on low heat; barely at a simmer. We want it to continue concentrating but not to cook away. We need that flavorful broth for the sauce.

 

Shred the steak

When the flank steak is cool enough to handle, shred it to resemble thin strings. The best way to do this is to hold the steak down with one fork and shred with another.

Flank steak being shredded on a black cutting board using two forks.

 

Add the shredded beef back into the broth. Keep warm on low heat until the tomato sauce is ready.

Shredded Flank Steak piled on a black cutting board

 

Make the sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Gently cook the onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin and black pepper to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the white wine, and cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.

 

Add the tomato sauce and the bay leaf to the skillet. When the sauce comes to a simmer, lower the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Keep the sauce at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.

 

Make the ropa vieja

Add the shredded steak (along with any broth remaining in the pot) to the tomato sauce. Stir well to combine and coat the shredded beef with the sauce. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, to let the flavors come together, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the ropa vieja, add salt, if needed.

 

Serve the ropa vieja with white rice and a side like fried sweet plantains or tostones for a traditional and delicious Cuban meal. Enjoy!

Ropa Vieja served with white rice and fried sweet plantains served on a white plate.

Serves 4

 

Ropa Vieja
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 
Ropa Vieja is a traditional Cuban dish that’s easy to make and delicious.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: cuban shredded beef
Servings: 4
Calories: 370 kcal
Ingredients
  • lb. Flank Steak 1 or 2 steaks
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion thinly sliced
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • ¼ tsp. Dried Oregano
  • ¼ tsp. Cumin
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
  • ½ cup White Wine
  • 8 oz. Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt to taste – only if needed
Instructions
  1. Add the steak(s) and beef broth to a large pot. Set the pot over high heat. When the broth comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook 15 minutes.

  2. Turn the steaks, lower the heat to medium-low and cook 30 minutes. Turn the flank steak again about halfway through the cooking time. Keep the broth at a simmer, if it’s boiling too vigorously too much of it will cook away.

  3. Place the steak on a cutting board or pan and allow it to cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, shred it to resemble thin strings. The best way to do this is to hold the steak down with one fork and shred with another. Add the meat back into the broth. Keep on low heat until the sauce is ready.

  4. While the meat cools, start the sauce: heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.

  5. Add the onions, cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  6. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin and black pepper to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

  7. Deglaze the skillet with the white wine, and cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.

  8. Add the tomato sauce and the bay leaf to the skillet. When the sauce comes to a simmer, lower the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Keep the sauce at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.

  9. Add the shredded steak (along with any broth remaining in the pot) to the tomato sauce. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, to let the flavors come together, stirring occasionally.

  10. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the ropa vieja, add salt, if needed. Serve with white rice.

Nutrition Facts
Ropa Vieja
Amount Per Serving
Calories 370 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 25%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 1283mg 53%
Potassium 967mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 40g 80%
Vitamin A 4.9%
Vitamin C 8.1%
Calcium 7.8%
Iron 22.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Ropa Vieja is a traditional Cuban dish that’s easy to make and delicious. The literal translation of ropa vieja is “old clothes”. It’s called this because the shredded beef resembles tattered, old clothes. What it actually is: Steak, usually flank, that’s boiled, shredded and cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. #ropavieja #shreddedbeef

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