Photo by Norma Torres

Ropa Vieja Beef

Cuisine: Caribbean
Don't let the name fool you: ropa vieja or "old clothes" is a deliciously savory dish of shredded beef that's very popular throughout the Caribbean.

Ropa Vieja, which means “old clothes” in Spanish, is a well-known dish in Cuba that was originated in the Canary Islands of Spain. You can find it in every menu throughout the Spanish-influenced Caribbean, but I think that the Cubans have mastered this dish.



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  1. Place above ingredients in a pot and add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for about two hours until meat is tender. Remove meat, reserving stock for another use and discarding celery and carrots; let cool. Once cooled, start shredding and set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan or pot, heat the olive oil, add garlic and sautee until golden then add onion and peppers cooking them until wilted.
  3. Next, add tomatoes, sherry, cumin, olives, bay leaves and cook covered at moderate heat, stirring once in a while for about 30 minutes. Add meat and cook for about 15 minutes more. Remove bay leaves and serve. If you like more liquid, then you can add some of the reserved stock.

Chef Notes

This is one of my all time favorites. It is best served with white rice and fried plantains. Adding a slice of avocado makes it even better.

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