Ropa Vieja is a beef hash considered one of the national dishes of Cuba. The dish is a tasty combination of shredded meat, peppers and spices. It’s great for special occasions and also for family dinner on weekends. I said special occasions since the cooking process is a bit long and intimidating, but worth the time and effort.
In Spanish “Ropa Vieja” means “old clothes”. The meat is used to make a broth first, and then to make a second dish, like a set of second hand old clothes. Another possible explanation for this dish name is because the meat is shredded like an old ripped cloth. Many recipes these days ignore the step where the broth is made to shorten the cooking time. I have tried both versions and prefer the one with the longest cooking method for the best taste and texture.
This dish is best when using brisket or flank meat. They are both flavorful, however brisket works better if using the longer and slower cooking method. Flank works best with high-heat cooking. In this recipe, I used brisket and cooked the meat broth in a crockpot. It’s a lot easier and less messy! 😊
Traditionally, the meat is shredded using your hands after the meat has cooled down. Aim for strands of about 3 to 4 inches long. You can also use a fork to break the meat apart.
Like Cuban Black Beans, the Ropa Vieja tastes better the next day.
This delicious Cuban dish is typically served with warm white rice, fried plantains, and a salad.
!Disfrute de su comida
- 4 lbs. beef brisket or flank, cooked and shredded
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 large onions, peeled and quartered
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- A bunch of fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsps. of salt
- 2 tsps. of peppercorns
- 4 tbsps. of olive oil or vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tsps. of salt
- 1 tsp. of ground pepper
- 2 tsps. of dried oregano
- 1 tbsps. of ground cumin
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups of tomato sauce, preferably strained
- 4 tbsps. of tomato paste
- 1 cup of reserved beef broth
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 2 tbsps. of white wine vinegar
- 2 large green peppers, broiled, blistered, peeled and sliced
- Jar pimientos, optional
- Place the brisket in a large pot and cover it with water. Add all the ingredients.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer in low heat for a few hours or until the meat is ready.
- Remove the meat from the pot and let it cool down. Save a cup of broth for the sauce.
- You can save the rest of the broth for making soup or sauce.
- Clean the green peppers into halves and broil them until the skins are blistered. Remove the skin and cut them into strips. Set them aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet in medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce to medium-low, add the ground cumin, ground pepper, salt and bay leaves and cook for another few minutes. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, broth, wine, vinegar and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir the shredded meat and the green pepper strips into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes for the flavors to blend.
- Garnish with sliced jar pimientos.
1. Brown the beef brisket using a large skillet with cooking oil, about 5 minutes on each side.
2. Transfer the browned meat in a crockpot or slow cooker.
3. Add all the sauce ingredients only; use garlic powder instead of fresh.
4. Skip the rest of the ingredients for the broth.
4. Cook in high for 5 hours or low for 10 hours.
5. Shred the meat when ready to serve.