Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)

A plate of food with rice and meat on it.

Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)

Servings 6 Servings


  • Braised Beef:
  • 2 pounds chuck roast, flank steak, or skirt steak
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, halved crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


  • To make the braised beef:
  • Season both sides of the beef with the salt and pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear the beef, flipping once until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and enough water to surround the beef but not completely submerge it. Cover the pan and simmer for 2½ hours, or longer, until the beef is fork tender, flipping halfway through cooking and adding more water if needed.
  • Strain the beef, reserving 1 cup of the broth. Discard the vegetables. Once the beef is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred the meat into thin strands. Set aside.
  • To make the sauce:
  • In the same pan 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 continue to sauté for 30 seconds. Return the shredded beef to the pan. Add the tomato sauce, white wine, reserved broth, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook, covered, over low heat for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the olives, parsley, and Tabasco sauce. Stir to combine.
  • Serve with white rice. Enjoy!