Ropa Vieja for #SundaySupper

Ropa Vieja | Magnolia Days

What is on your culinary bucket list? My list is very long. It’s a good thing because I have a several reasons to tackle them. The reasons are to try new things, learn techniques, and share them here on this blog. Plus it keeps me from getting into a routine or rut which is something I do quite well. Yes, look up creature of habit and there is my photo. Anyway, it was time to make something to check off my list. I chose to make Ropa Vieja.

What is Ropa Vieja? It is a Cuban or Caribbean shredded beef dish. The name is Spanish and it translates to “Old Clothes”. I’ve read lots of different stories about how it was named that and I’m not sure which one is correct. However it was named is to be determined. What has been determined for sure is how good it is. (Source = me). I’ve enjoyed it from the moment I first tried it many years ago at a local restaurant.

Cafe Chavez was that local Cuban restaurant. We decided to go there one night after hearing many rave reviews. We sat down and had no clue what to order. One of us chose Ropa Vieja. We dove in when the plate of shredded beef served over rice arrived at the table. The tomato-y, pepper-y, cumin flavored sauce was unlike any other I had before. It instantly made me a Cuban food fan. Sadly, the restaurant closed several years ago. Since then I’ve only had Ropa Vieja a few times. I always wanted to make it at home and never did. That is, until Isabel challenged the Sunday Supper team to make something from their culinary bucket list.

The variety of recipes this week is incredible. Many different cuisines are featured. There is something for everyone:

Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:

Sunday Supper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:

Are you ready to tackle your culinary bucket list? I’m one down and lots to go. Perhaps my next one will be a recipe in today’s event. They all look so good. Choices, choices…

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.

One note about the recipe: It is a very good version of Ropa Vieja. It is similar to the way I have had it at a few Cuban restaurants. I do intend to tweak it in the future. I want it to be more like the one I had at Cafe Chavez long ago. At least I can say I tackled one of my culinary bucket list items. Fine tuning it will be just as fun as making it the first time.

Ropa Vieja
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds skirt or flank steak, trimmed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 garlic cloves, divided (3 crushed & 3 minced)
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 onion, sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups braising liquid plus additional if desired
  • 1 can (14- to 16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ½ cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, drained and chopped
Instructions
  1. In a 6 or 7-quart soup pot or dutch oven, add beef, water, carrots, large onion, celery, bay leaf, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Loosely cover and simmer 1½ to 3 hours, until beef is tender (easy to shred). Remove pot from heat and cool meat in liquid 30 minutes. Transfer meat to a container and cover. Strain braising liquid into a bowl using a colander. Press on the solids to press out liquid. Discard solids. Return braising liquid to the pot and boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Cool braising liquid completely, cover, and refrigerate it and the beef separately overnight.
  2. Pull meat into shreds using two forks. Set aside.
  3. In the soup pot, cook green bell pepper and sliced onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until softened, stirring occasionally.
  4. To the pepper/onion mixture add shredded meat, 2 cups braising liquid, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon oregano. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Loosely cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. In a large skillet cook red and yellow bell peppers in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until softened, stirring occasionally. Add softened peppers to the pot with additional braising liquid if needed to thin or to desired consistency. Stir to combine and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir in peas and olives. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm over white or yellow rice.

Recipe adapted from one on Epicurious.

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Comments

  1. says

    What a spicy splash into the New Year, Renee. Muchos gracias for this invite to a taste of Cuban food. My husband is a huge onion, garlic and tomato fan and I love anything with rice and veggies sooo it looks like a perfect #SundaySupper =)

  2. says

    What an amazing looking dish, Renee…I’ve never tasted it, but that shredded beef is calling to me. I think this would be hubby approved, too. BTW, I made your brownie tart yesterday and took it to some friends for dinner last night…whoa, was it wonderful!!!!

  3. says

    I never tried ropa vieja. This recipe has all ingredients that are used here to make a very comforting dish that is basically tomato sauce with meat, and that is eaten with pasta. The idea of shredding the beef is perfect! A wonderful recipe Renée!

  4. says

    Okay, admission time – I have never tried Ropa Vieja! I know, I know… It’s something that I’ve always wanted to try…always meant to make…but as of yet, have not. I do want to dive into the screen and steal your plate, it looks so darn good!

  5. says

    It amazes me how Cuban food hasn’t taken off in this country. It has some wonderful flavors and Ropa Vieja is a great example of that. Thanks for sharing. I’ll have give it a try at home soon too.

    • says

      I was wondering if there was a similar dish to this in Jamaica. Maybe, maybe not? Let me know if you can think of one. (or share it on your blog).

  6. says

    Thanks for explaining what this is! I have never heard of it (not that I eat Cuban food or anything). And I think for photographing beef, you did a fine job! There’s color plus the meat is distinct (as opposed to being saucy and everything blended together).

  7. says

    Renee, I love Cuban food but can only ever get it when I visit the US. If there’s a good Cuban place in Vancouver, I’d love it if someone could point me in its direction! This looks and sounds amazing! So flavourful. Wish I had a big plate of it right now.

    • says

      There isn’t many Cuban places around me either. Miami has bunches of them (of course) and people there are so lucky to have many options.

  8. says

    YUMMMM! I live right down the street from the historical original Columbia Restaurant and this is their signature dish. I love it. I want it now!

    • says

      Thank you Linda! I still have a few more Cuban dishes that are on my bucket list. I can’t wait to try them and share them here so stay tuned.

  9. says

    I love Cuban food so much. I have always wanted to go to Cuba. As soon as I get my British passport hubby says we will take a trip there. Unless of course the US finally stops being silly about the Cuba traveling ban for US citizens. But in the mean while enjoying amazing food like this will have to keep me going.

  10. Sarah says

    I would have been so sad to hear the restaurant closed. Josh and I went to a Colombian steak house for our first date and I can never forget that taste. We barely ate but that is besides the point. I’ve tried making a similiar dish at home and it just didn’t taste the same. I am giving your recipe a try and reliving our first date. wink wink! ;)

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