Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

This Cuban stew, Ropa Vieja, is made by braising beef until it can be shredded—thus the name (translated as 'old clothes'). Serve with tortillas, and pass hot sauce on the side for those who like it fiery. Because the meat is shredded, it's also suitable for tacos and burritos.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 steak to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove steak from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining steak.

Step 2

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic to pan; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in olives and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in vinegar, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Add steaks; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until steaks are very tender. Discard bay leaves.

Step 3

Remove steaks from pan; shred with two forks. Stir shredded beef and cilantro into pan.

Step 4

Wine note: A savory beef dish such as this needs a rich red wine, but preferably one that won't break the bank since this is a humble meal. One of my favorites is Reds, a delicious blend of several varietals, with zinfandel predominating. And the 2005 is $ —Karen MacNeil

Ratings & Reviews

klem01's Review

July 26, 2014

fotoop2's Review

February 11, 2014
This was really tasty. Made it without the olives, and used white wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, and it worked out great. Served it over brown rice and with a side of sweet potatoes for a healthy dinner for the family!

PeteSoup's Review

January 31, 2013
My family and I really enjoyed this stew; the recipe is a keeper. It took some time, but not so much that I was limited to a weekend or special occasion. I just whipped it up on a Thursday evening. For once, I didn't alter the recipe much. All we did was add some grated cheese on top because that's what we do. The one request my wife made is that next time I don't add any olives. Personally, I liked them. I served the dish all by itself and it did great on its own. The recipe is easy to follow and execute.

koriander's Review

January 30, 2012
This was easy to make, and I followed the recipe except I accidently used sherry cooking wine instead of sherry vinegar. I am not sure if that made a difference in the flavor - my husband and I thought it was too bland. It had a lot of broth, so I served the meat with the sauce over rice. I would try another version of this recipe before trying this one again.

Texaninswiss's Review

October 07, 2011
This was a good one for dinner. I would serve it as a starter for dinner parties.

PenelopeRB's Review

December 12, 2009
Tasty! This is quite easy to make and flavorful. I brought it to a party and served it with warmed, quartered flour tortillas. I used grass fed beef and I think that resulted in the need for a longer cook time; it was over two hours. I let it cool completely then reheated it (with the meat shredded in the liquid). I think this contributed to further tenderness and more complete flavors in each bite. It got good reviews from other guests and the host wanted to keep all the remainder so I'd say it was a success.

preycroft12's Review

July 18, 2009
Today is my mother's birthday and her favorite dish is Ropa Vieja, I had never made it before but I decided to surprised her. This recipe is very good, almost at the end of the cooking time I added 1/2 cup of white wine and the result was fantastic!! I will definitely make it again. I served the Ropa Vieja with white rice and maduros (fried ripe plantains) to make a balance of sweet and savory.

Barbawana's Review

February 12, 2009
This was great! Didn't care for it with corn tortillas but is was fantastic with burritos! I made it as instructed. I think it would also be great if turned into a soup with other goodies added! I will experiement with it this way next!