Ropa Vieja

This is one of my husband’s favorite dishes that his mother would make for him all the time. Luckily for Lorenzo, his mother has taught me how to make this dish with all her Cuban tricks. The name of the dish sounds strange enough, Ropa Vieja, which translates to “old clothes.” But this does not taste like old clothes at all, but the shredded meat and onions and peppers resemble a very colorful ensemble of  “shredded clothes.” The dish has shredded beef stewed with tomatoes, the cuban sofrito (bell peppers, onions, and garlic) with cumin and seasonings. It’s definitely a Cuban favorite in our house, and it takes a little effort to make this dish – but always worth it.

Side note: I’ve made this before on my blog and was not happy with my previous post so I’ve finally redone it. But like the old blog post, I have made improvements and tweaked the recipe to my liking. Enjoy!

Ropa Vieja Original Krystal Recipe Inspired by my wonderful mother-in-law


About 3 pounds of flank steak, cut in half Water 1 large yellow onion, chopped finely 1 green & red bell pepper, julienned 2 tablespoon kosher salt 4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 1/2 tablespoon of cumin 1 tablespoon Complete seasoning 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce 1 tablespoon of tomato paste 1/2 cup of dry cooking wine 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped chives, for garnish


Place the 3 pound flank steak in the pressure cooker. Fill with water to about halfway of the pot. Bring water to a boil and place the lid on. Pressure cook the meat until is very tender, about 45 minutes. (Or in a stockpot for 2 hours, meat needs to be fork tender).

Remove the meat from the water, and place in a large bowl. You need to shred the meat into very thin slices. This process gets a little messy and time consuming, but I use my hands to separate the flank steak to resemble shredded meat. Afterwards, heavily salt the meat about 2 tablespoons or so. Set the meat aside. (You can do this step a day before).

In a large saute pan, add the olive oil – enough to cover the middle of the pan. Prepare the sofrito – add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shredded meat, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cumin, cumin seeds, complete seasoning, cooking wine, bay leaves and let it simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Mix everything well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with white rice, platanos (fried bananas), and a couple avocado slices drizzled with olive oil & salt. Garnish with chives.

Review: This was one of the best adaptions that I’ve made to date, and I think I’ve finally perfected my adjustments to the recipe. Lorenzo was in foodie heaven enjoying his plate, and all we were missing were some platanos! I would serve a beautiful Rioja wine alongside this meal. Buen provecho!

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