Cuban Beef Stew (Ropa Vieja) Recipe

Ropa Vieja
Rinaldo Wurglitsch/Flickr
  • 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings Cuban Ropa Vieja
Ratings (6)

This recipe for Cuban beef stew is known as ropa vieja which means "old clothes" in Spanish. The name describes the shreds of meat and vegetables in the dish which resemble colorful strips of rags.

This beef stew is hearty enough to eat on its own, but goes well over rice dishes and soaked up with crusty bread. The beef must be cooked and shredded first. For convenience, you can prepare the beef the day before and refrigerate overnight to save time the next day.

In this Spanish version of ropa vieja, garbanzo beans are used in place of the peas used in this recipe. This low-carb version is made in a slow cooker and can be served with low-carb tortillas, avocado, and cilantro. 

What You'll Need

  • For the Steak:
  • 2 pounds flank steak (or chuck roast)
  • 1 large onion (quartered)
  • 2 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 1 large celery rib (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • For the Stew:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large onion (sliced into thin strips)
  • 1 large green bell pepper (sliced into thin strips)
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup cooked sweet peas (frozen and thawed are OK)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

Prepare the Steak

  1. Place the steak into a large stockpot and add water to cover the steak completely.
  2. Add the quartered onion, smashed garlic, chopped celery, and salt.
  3. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce to moderate heat and cook until steak is tender about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Transfer the meat only to a platter to cool and discard the cooking liquid, onion, garlic and celery.
  5. Shred it with two forks when the meat is cool enough to handle. At this point, you can refrigerate the meat overnight.

    Prepare the Stew

    1. In a large skillet or pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 minute.
    2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the sliced onion and bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
    3. Stir in the diced tomatoes, sherry, bay leaves, cumin, and a pinch of salt.
    4. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook for 25 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent sticking.
    5. Remove the bay leaves.
    6. Stir in the shredded beef and cook for about 10 minutes until the beef is heated through.
    7. Stir in the peas. Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with rice if desired.