Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef) – Back Off, Marie Kondo!

This Cuban braised beef dish literally translates to, “old clothes,” because apparently some people thought it looked like old, tattered clothing, but as I touched on in the video’s intro, don’t make this because of the cool name. Make this because it’s one of the most delicious dishes ever, and will most definitely spark joy.

Of course, you have to be into big, bold flavors, since there’s nothing subtle about the seasoning here. Above and beyond a warning, that also should serve as a reminder to adjust the amounts below to match your personal preferences. Compared to some recipes, my version is actually fairly subdued.

Some folks like to braise the meat until it’s falling apart before tearing it, but I prefer the method seen herein. I’ll cook the meat until it’s just starting to get tender, then tear, and finish it in the sauce. I believe that makes for an even better texture, as well as possibly absorbing more flavor, although I can’t prove any of this. You can also, use skirt steak, or big pieces of chuck, but flank is my favorite. No matter what you use, I really hope you give these “old clothes” a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 flank steak (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, or finely crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 or 3 bell peppers, sliced (I also used a poblano chili)
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 cup pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


jimaran44 said...

Hello chef John, thanks and greetings from France !
I'm understanding that ropa vieja refers to an old cloth, patched with fabrics of many colors ...

Merci pour votre humour et votre partage :)


michaelden said...

Another great use for all the flank steak I've been stocking up on.

Please may you make boerewors, a South African farmers' sausage. If you've never tried it, it truly is a king among sausages.

Unknown said...

my father was Cuban and made this all the time. This is my favorite dish. We used Brisket and wine when we made this dish. This is a nice recipe although this is made many ways. Nice job and I'm sure it's as tasty.

Spud Lyfe said...

This looks phenomenal. Unfortunately, the only food I can't stand is bell pepper. I'll have to work out a substitute.

Also beef + rice + cilantro has me thinking about lomo saltado now.

Gui Ávila said...

Chef John, if you add a splash of balsamic vinegar into this beef, it gets to a whole new level. Here in Brazil we make a very similar recipe to this and keep it in the fridge to make the most amazing beef sandwiches. And we also have a cool name for it: we call it "carne louca" (portuguese for "crazy beef").

Dave-id said...


steve said...

Tried the recipe last night. Flavor was unbelievably good but the flank steak was too tough to chew. It was a good quality flank steak prepared as you did and looked identical. Next time we will try chuck.

Sluggsworth said...

Making this tonight. I miss good Cuban food being that I've been away from Miami for 20 years now.

Cooking is relaxation said...

Made this dish last night in half the time in my pressure cooker. Came out amazing!!! Thanks a million Chef John for posting this delicious recipe!!!

Cooking is relaxation said...

Made this last night in half the time in my pressure cooker. Turned out amazing!!! Thanks for posting this delicious recipe Chef John!

Unknown said...

Chef John Chef John you a gangsta! Yes! I'm making this right now. Adding a few carrots because hell yeah. Thank you!

Unknown said...

I followed your ropa vieja recipe exactly and the
Beef turned out “magnifico”
I’ve made it with a chuck roast in the past
but I’m so glad I bought flank steak
My boyfriend said you’ve got to make this
again as he was dishing out a second serving.

Pablo said...

In Habana Cafe cookbook, she boils flank steak for two hours first, then she makes sauce with similar ingredients, cooks it for 20 minutes adds beef and cooks another 20.

Unknown said...

Oh boy, ever since I went keto I've been missing out on you.

This will hit the spot.

sonda said...

Thanks for posting this delicious recipe Chef John.

Poingat Opinion said...

This is wonderful. Made it early in April,but due to unforeseen circumstances it ended up in the Freezer for a month and I served it today. I must say it was awesome. I used Chuck because it is what I have at home. Used 4 peppers Red, Yellow, Pablano, and Anaheim. Everything else as in the recipe. It is a joy when I can do one of your dishes and keep things Keto easily as your technique is easy to follow. Thanks for the great food.

Unknown said...

Traditional method uses raisins instead of sugar. I know it sounds weird, but sliced or chopped green olives and raisins (50/50 ratio) is a tradition dating back to the Moors. Really works well.