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Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef)

Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars

"This Cuban braised beef dish literally translates to 'old clothes,' because apparently some people thought the fall-apart meat and colorful strips of onions and peppers, tangled together, looked like old, tattered clothing. You'll love this dish if you're into big, bold flavors, since there's nothing subtle about the seasoning here. Delicious served with beans, rice, and plantain chips. Garnish with more cilantro."
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11 h 30 m servings 209
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. Cut flank steak in half across the grain. Mix salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Season both sides generously with the salt mixture.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pot over high heat. Add steaks and cook until outsides are well browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove steaks to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add red onion, garlic, and more of the salt seasoning. Cook and stir until starting to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cloves, and allspice. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Pour in white wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth.
  4. Return beef and accumulated juices to the pot. Season with salt and add bay leaves. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beef is almost fork-tender, not falling apart, about 2 hours.
  5. Remove pot from heat and let stew cool to room temperature, at least 45 minutes. Refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight, for best results.
  6. Remove beef to a plate and set stew over medium heat. Tear beef along the grain into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-wide shreds; place back in the stew. Add bell peppers, poblanos, smoked paprika, capers, olives, and sugar. Stir together and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until peppers are soft and meat is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat, remove bay leaves, and stir in cilantro.


  • Chef's Notes:
  • You can also use skirt steak, or big pieces of chuck, but flank is my favorite. Chuck is cheaper but shreds too small.
  • Use finely crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 209 calories; 12.5 10.4 11.9 28 1275 Full nutrition

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I found a sirloin tip roast and used that for the meat. I followed the recipe pretty exactly except I used the pressure cooker then finished it simmering on the stovetop until the sauce had coo...

Followed the recipe and it was a huge hit. Even my picky 11-year old son loved it. I was shocked! Look forward to making it again.

Followed Chef John's recipe and it was excellent ! I did use flank steak and I'm glad I did. Will definitely make again.