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Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe

Ropa Vieja is a delicious and traditional Cuban dish that is loved by many. The name translates to "old clothes" in Spanish, but don't let that fool you – this is a flavorful and hearty meal that is perfect for any occasion. In this article, we will explore the history and recipe of Ropa Vieja.

Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe


Ropa Vieja is believed to have originated in the Canary Islands, which were once a Spanish colony. The dish was brought to Cuba by Spanish settlers in the 16th century and quickly became a popular staple in Cuban cuisine. It is made by slow-cooking shredded beef with vegetables and spices, giving it a rich and savory flavor.



  • 2 lbs. flank steak or skirt steak

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 green pepper, chopped

  • 1 red pepper, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp. cumin

  • 1 tbsp. oregano

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives

  • Cooked rice, for serving


  1. Begin by heating up a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the flank steak to the pot and brown it on both sides. This should take about 5 minutes per side. Once it is browned, remove it from the pot and set it aside.

  2. In the same pot, add the onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

  3. Add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant.

  4. Add the diced tomatoes, beef broth, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, and bay leaf to the pot. Stir everything together.

  5. Return the flank steak to the pot and bring everything to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let everything cook for 2-3 hours, or until the beef is very tender and falls apart easily.

  6. Remove the beef from the pot and shred it using two forks. Return the shredded beef to the pot.

  7. Add the frozen peas, pitted olives, capers, white wine vinegar, and olive oil to the pot. Stir everything together.

  8. Let everything simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the peas are cooked and everything is heated through.

  9. Serve the Ropa Vieja over rice or with a side of plantains.

This Ropa Vieja recipe is a classic Cuban dish that is sure to please. The combination of tender beef, flavorful vegetables, and tangy capers and olives makes for a rich and satisfying meal. Whether you are cooking for a crowd or just for yourself, this recipe is sure to impress. So give it a try and taste the flavors of Cuba!


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