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  • Writer's pictureNisha

My favorite Cuban dish: Ropa Vieja

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Ropa Vieja, it’s one of Cuba's popular dish, the name means "old clothes."  This dish is super tender and packed with flavor. We went to Cuba about a year ago and I believe I had ropa vieja almost every day that I was there, that and I also ate lots of tostones and fresh fruit like guava and mangoes.

This dish is perfect for the slow cooker for those who have busy lives and just want to throw it on and leave it alone for several hours, but it's also delicious cooked in a dutch oven.

What you'll need:

  • 2-2 1/2 lbs. beef chuck roast or flank steak

  • 6 whole cloves of garlic

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (to taste)

  • t tbsp of tomato paste

  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp black pepper

  • 2 tsp Sazonadar total seasoning

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • t tbsp of white vinegar

  • 1 tbsp of cumin

  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, reserve some for garnishing


  1. Thoroughly clean meat (remove excessive fat, if any). Pat dry using a paper towel.

  2. Clean and prep all veggies.

  3. Sear the meat. Using a small paring knife, make 3 small cuts into each piece of meat. Place one clove of garlic into each cut opening on your meat.=, make sure it's completely inserted into the thickness of roast. Season both sides of the meat with a sazonadar total, pinch of salt & black pepper. Heat the oil in a large-deep skillet. Add the beef to skillet and sear for about 5 minutes on each side, flip over only when the exterior is browned. You will probably get a little bit of splatter, but don't cover the pan as the meat will end up steaming rather than searing. If you have a splatter guard you can use that.

  4. While the meat is cooking, chop the remaining 3 cloves of garlic into thin slices and add to the slow cooker along with all the remaining ingredients, give it mix.

  5. Add meat to slow cooker. Cover and allow to cook for 4-5 hours on High 0r 7-8 hours on Low. When the beef falls apart easily when pulled with two forks, it's done. Shred the beef with the forks and give it a stir. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

  6. Enjoy!

I served this over rice and cuban style black beans. We had plenty of leftovers the next day to make tacos. You can also use the extra meat for burritos, nachos or quesadillas. Ropa Vieja tastes better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld, so this is a perfect dish to make in large batches!

If you're thinking about trying this meal, I'd love to hear all about it. Add to your Instagram in-feed post or stories and tag me @baileyhouse2home and use the hashtags #CookingWithNisha and #BaileyHouse2Home. Feel free to leave a comment below and tell a friend where you found this recipe.

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