Ropa Vieja

A plate of food with rice and meat.

Ropa Vieja

Servings 4 Servings


  • 2 pounds chuck roast, brisket, or flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • ½ – 1 cup reserved braising liquid
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves, not ground
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • splash tabasco sauce, (optional)
  • ½ cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, halved crosswise (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley


  • Season meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Sear the beef on all sides, flipping once until golden brown (3-5 minutes per side). Transfer beef to a plate. Turn the heat down to the low setting, stir in the onions, bell peppers, and bay leaves. Sauté 3-4 minutes, add garlic and continue to sauté for 30 seconds. Add beef back to the pan and place over vegetables. Slowly add enough water to the pan, to surround the beef but not completely immersed. Place lid on pan, and simmer for 2-2½ hours until beef is fork tender, flipping halfway through cooking and adding more water if necessary.
  • Strain the braising liquid, reserving ½ – 1 cup and discard vegetables. Once beef is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks into thin strands.
  • Sauce:
  • In the same pan used to cook the beef, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté 3-4 until tender. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 30 seconds. Add beef, tomato sauce, reserved braising liquid, white wine, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and tabasco (if using); cover and cook on low heat for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Garnish with olives and parsley. Serve with white rice. Enjoy!

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