Ropa Vieja


This Cuban-inspired dish is one of the first meals I ever made in my crock pot when I got it years ago, and it’s a keeper. Easy to make, mild flavor, and good comfort food on a chilly, rainy day. Lauren suggested adding a jalapeño to the pepper mix, which would be a nice addition, I think. For now, I’m sticking with the mellow, earthy flavor of the tomato and beef slow-cooked all afternoon.

This recipe really tastes best when you take the time to brown the meat and caramelize the onions, but it works fine if you skip those steps and layer the raw ingredients in the same order (veggies, then meat, then seasonings). Just omit the tablespoon of oil.

Ropa Vieja

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. skirt steak, trimmed

3 peppers, thinly sliced (I like to use red, green, & yellow peppers)
2 carrots, diced or cut into matchsticks

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped

8 oz. veggie stock
8 oz. tomato puree (or plain sauce)
6 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side (does not need to be cooked through) and set aside.

Layer peppers and carrots in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Saute onion and garlic in same pan in which the steak was cooked (don’t add more oil) until translucent. Add to slow cooker and arrange steak on top of veggies. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove beef to a cutting board and shred using two forks. Return beef to the crock and continue cooking on low for 1 hour or more.

6 thoughts on “Ropa Vieja

  1. Wow! This looks amazing!

    I love, love, love crock pot cooking. I’m a little paranoid leaving it while i’m at work all day though. Def. a great idea for a weekend meal!

    Do you serve it over plain barley?

    Hi Amanda, I did serve it over plain barley but honestly it was a little… plain! Next time I would either cook the barley in vegetable stock or add some sauteed onions to it. Even a little salt would have helped. But truly, whatever you put the ropa vieja over soaks up the sauce so I suppose totally plain is OK. — Dara

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