Ropa Vieja

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Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef) is a classic Cuban dish, a national favorite. Similar to the pulled pork so popular in the Americas, but of course very uniquely Cuban in its spices and flavors.

Ropa Vieja Public Domain

Ropa Vieja Recipe-


(serves 6)

  • 3 lb. premium quality (grass fed is best, and well marbled) chuck roast
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large white onion, diced fine
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup red dry wine (Cabernet or Merlot works best)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, de-seeded, and rough chopped
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper on all sides.
  2. In a large cooking pot over medium high heat, brown the roast all over with 1 tbsp. olive oil.
  3. Add in enough water to surround the meat, but not enough to cover it.
  4. Now the yellow onion slices into the water, and bring to a boil.
  5. Once a good boil is achieved, turn the heat down to where the liquid is at a lively simmer; cover the pot and allow to cook for at least 1-1/2 hours, longer if necessary, the meat must be fully tenderized.
  6. Remove from the burner and allow to cool.
  7. Removing any excess fat as you work, shred the roast into strands, then set aside.
  8. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and sauté the bell pepper, diced white onion, and garlic for 3 or 4 minutes, until the onion is fragrant and translucent.
  9. Now add the red wine, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, cumin, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir and blend the mixture together well, then cover the skillet and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Put the shredded beef in the skillet, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring now and then.
  11. To serve Ropa Vieja, remove bay leaves, stir one more time, and place your Ropa Vieja on a large serving platter. Ropa Vieja is traditionally served with white or yellow rice, black beans (garnished with finely diced white onions), and also fried plantains and/or fried yucca.

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