Cuban Beef Ropa Vieja

This Classic Ropa Vieja is one of the most popular dishes in Cuba. The sauce gives the Beef a superb flavor keeping the meat moist.

cuban ropa vieja

One of my absolute favorite Cuban dishes to make is Ropa Vieja. I previously made a Turkey Ropa Vieja but this time I wanted to make the Beef version.

Ropa Vieja has been a Cuban dish since the late 1850s. My good friend from Cuba tells me it appears on the menu of almost every restaurant in Cuba.

ropa vieja with white rice

Ropa Vieja means “Old Clothes” in Spanish. But like I’ve said before, this Cuban dish tastes much better than “Old Clothes”.

There are many different ways to make Ropa Vieja but I am trying to make this recipe as authentic as I can. If you are going to make Ropa Vieja you might as well make it like it’s supposed to.

cuban ropa vieja
cocktail icon

Alcohol Warning

Please take into consideration that some of the alcohol in this recipe may not completely burn off and the remains could be of significant concern to recovering alcoholics, parents, and others who have ethical or religious reasons for avoiding alcohol.

You can also use flank steak or skirt steak instead of the chuck roast. Use what you have on hand. I usually have a chuck roast in the freezer so that is what I use for this recipe.

cuban national dish

Additionally, you can use any kind of onion you have on hand but I would stick with either a yellow onion or a sweet onion. While this recipe calls for very little hot sauce (1/8 teaspoon), you can leave it out completely if you want.

You can use whatever brand hot sauce you want, Tabasco or Frank’s Hot Sauce or any other chili pepper sauce you want. Again this is optional if you don’t want to add a little heat to this delicious dish.

beef ropa vieja

While you can serve this meat on its own, it is typically served with a side of rice. If you are going to make rice a perfect time would be during the last step when you are simmering the beef in the tomato sauce.

cuban ropa vieja

You will need the following ingredients to make this Cuban Beef Ropa Vieja recipe. For ingredient amounts please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Chuck Roast – or flank steak or skirt steak
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Bay Leaves
  • Water
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Dry White Wine
  • Dried Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Ground Cumin
  • Spanish Green Olives
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Hot Sauce
  1. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and water to the pan to surround the beef but not completely submerge it.
    cuban ropa vieja
  4. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender. Flip the beef at the 1-hour mark adding more water if needed.
  5. Remove the beef, and discard the remaining ingredients reserving 3/4 cup of the broth. Once the beef is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred the meat. Set aside.
  1. In the same pot used to cook the beef, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. Return the shredded beef to the pot.
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce, white wine, and the reserved broth. Add the oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    shredded beef simmering in pot
  4. Fold in the olives, parsley, and Hot Sauce.

Printable Recipe Card

Cuban Beef Ropa Vieja

Cuban Beef Ropa Vieja

This Classic Ropa Vieja is one of the most popular dishes in Cuba. The sauce gives the Beef a superb flavor keeping the meat moist.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Servings 8
Calories 332 kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven

Ingredients
 

FOR THE BEEF
  • 2 lbs Chuck Roast, flank steak, or skirt steak
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, halved
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, quartered
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 to 4 cups Water
FOR THE SAUCE
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 15 oz Tomato Sauce
  • ½ cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ cup Spanish Green Olives, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Tsp Hot Sauce, or to taste

Instructions
 

MAKE THE BRAISED BEEF
  • Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and water to the pan to surround the beef but not completely submerge it.
  • Cover the pot and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender. Flip the beef at the 1 hour mark adding more water if needed.
  • Remove the beef, and discard the remaining ingredients reserving 3/4 cup of the broth. Once the beef is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred the meat. Set aside.
MAKE THE SAUCE
  • In the same pot used to cook the beef, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Return the shredded beef to the pot.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, white wine, and the reserved broth. Add the oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Fold in the olives, parsley, and Tabasco.

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 24gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 1068mgPotassium: 699mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1331IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional information provided for this recipe is based on 1 serving. This information is an estimate and may vary based on several factors. If nutritional information is important to you and your diet, please verify this recipe with a Registered Dietitian.

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One Comment

  1. Catherine says:

    I have a friend who is Cuban and made this Beef Ropa Vieja. It was a great hit. Everyone loved it.

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