Monday, March 14, 2011

Ropa Vieja, Cuban Shredded Beef

I'm Cuban.  I was born here in the states, but my entire family is from Cuba.  Cubans are known for being loud and kinda crazy, but passionate too.  Passionate about many things, but especially our food!

Ropa Vieja literally translated means "old clothes."  My husband can't really say Ropa Vieja very well, so he just calls it "old clothes."  I realize this sounds a bit unappetizing, but you're gonna have to trust me on this!

Originally, the skirt steak in this was used as the base of another meal.  Cubans are resourceful (me maybe not so much, but the old schoolers like my grandmother certainly are)!  So, instead of wasting the beef, Ropa Vieja was invented.  It's now a family favorite and one of those dishes that Cubans are known for.  It's easy, inexpensive to make, and oh-so delicioso!

Here's what you'll need:
(Serves 6)

1.5 lbs. of skirt steak 
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (If you don't have green, you can use red too.  Use what you have!)
1/4 cp. extra virgin olive oil
5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup Vino Seco (this is a Spanish cooking wine, but you can use a dry white wine to substitute)
Salt and pepper to season and taste

(Nutritional Info: 435 Calories, 29.8g Fat, 9.5g Carb, 32.1g Protein)

In a large pot, add the skirt steak and cover with water.  Salt the water like you would salt pasta water.  Simmer this for a couple of hours, until the steak is tender and easy to shred.  You can also do this in the crock pot the night before.  Set it on low before you go to bed and then turn it off when you get up in the morning.  Reserve your beef stock, and after the beef has completely cooled, shred it. Mama Fina says you can have the kiddos help with this part. 

This is Mama Fina by the way
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat with the garlic.  This is just to give the oil the flavor of garlic, so be careful not to brown or burn it.  Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft.

Now, add the shredded beef and season everything with salt to taste.  Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on medium-low for about 10-15 minutes.  If you find that the mixture is a bit on the dry side, you can add a few tablespoons of the beef stock you reserved.

Tomatoes when they are added
Tomatoes after they cook down
Next, add the tomato sauce and the Vino Seco.

Simmer on low for 5-7 minutes for all the flavors to combine.  There should be a little bit of sauce when you spoon this.  That's a good thing!  If the mixture seems a little dry, add a little of the beef stock.

Spoon this over rice and add a vegetable or salad on the side, and you've got a great meal! Yummm...this is making me hungry!!!


  1. Well Hello! Good to see you in the blogging world! XOXO

  2. Well Hellooo! It's nice to be here! =)