Ropa Vieja ~ Shredded Beef Recipe

Ropa Vieja ~ Shredded Beef
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This Cuban recipe for Ropa Vieja, or Shredded Beef, is the national dish of Cuba, but is also popular in other areas of the region such as Puerto Rico and Panama, in Spain, and in the Philippines. Made from shredded flank steak and cooked in a tomato sauce base, it’s usually served with black beans, white rice, plantains and fried yucca.

Ropa Vieja ~ Shredded Beef

Ropa Vieja ~ Shredded Beef

This Cuban dish of Ropa Vieja (shredded flank steak in a tomato sauce base) is usually served with black beans, yellow rice, plantains, fried yuca and a beer.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Mike Gonzalez


  • 2 ½ lbs flank steak cut in 3”x 4”pieces
  • cups green bell peppers finely chopped
  • 1 cup olives with pimientos sliced
  • cups yellow onions finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 jar capers drained
  • 2 cups long grain rice cooked
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 packet powdered beef bouillon
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • adobo seasoning
  • 12 oz sofrito
  • 1 packet sazón


  • Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Season meat with adobo. Add steak to the pot and cook in batches, flipping once, until well browned about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate. Lower heat to medium. Stir in onions and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add Sofrito and garlic to pot; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in 3 cups of water, tomato sauce, Sazón, beef bouillon and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Return beef to pot. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Stir in olives and capers. Cover pot; simmer until meat shreds easily with fork, 1 – 1½ hours, adding more water in ¼ cup measurements, if pot becomes dry.
  • Transfer meat to work surface; shred meat with two forks. Bring the remaining sauce to a boil. Mix meat and cilantro into the sauce. Serve with white rice.

Did You Know

The Canary Islands in Spain have a version of the dish with potato cooked in the pot with the beef and vegetables. It is a very traditional dish for the islands that many restaurants offer on the menu.

The most common preparation in mainland Spain involves shredding and frying the leftover meat from cocido with paprika and chickpeas.

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