Ropa Vieja which translated means “old clothes”,  is a dish
well-known in Cuba, but originated in the Canary Islands.


You can find it in every menu throughout the Caribbean.  I think that the “Cubanos” have mastered this dish.  This version is for you Laz of Lazaro Cooks and Jorge of Hispanic Kitchen!



2 lbs flank steak
2 large onions (one cut in half – the other sliced thinly)
8 garlic cloves (4 smashed and 4 chopped)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
2-3 bay leaves
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 large green pepper sliced into strips
1 large red pepper sliced into strips
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 16 oz can plum tomatoes or 1-1/2 lbs tomatoes sliced
2-3 tablespoons of dry sherry or red wine vinegar
about 10 – 15 Spanish olives

There are two steps to this recipe:

Step 1:

2 lbs of flank steak
1 large onion cut in half
4 garlic cloves, smashed with a knife
2 stalks of celery cut in half
2 carrots cut in half
salt to taste

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 discarding celery and carrots, let cool. Once cooled, start shredding and set aside.


Step 2:

In a large frying pan or pot, heat the olive oil, add garlic and saute until golden then add onion and peppers cooking them until wilted.

ROPA VIEJA 007 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.


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




This entry was posted in Beef, Cuban, Latin Traditional, Meats. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to ROPA VIEJA – OLD CLOTHES

  1. flavorsofthesun says:

    It funny to me that I love Ropa Vieja, and ate lots of it in Florida in my youth, but have never made it. This recipe inspires!

  2. Victoria says:

    Delicious!! My sister has made Ropa Viega before and I just loved it!! Such a flavorful dish 🙂

  3. From Joan – Foodalogue
    It’s been such a long time since I’ve had Ropa Vieja and my mouth is watering.
    I love the way you presented it with the aguacate on top and the maduros on the

  4. Trix says:

    This looks ridiculously good. I think I would put it in a tortilla (I put everything in a tortilla) YUM

  5. Karen says:

    I haven’t had ropa vieja since I moved from Florida. Not only is your version plated lovely but it sounds very good.

  6. Nydia says:

    I ate ropa vieja once, it’s so delicious. I’m not a person who eat to much red meat (juest we make BBQ…ja,ja,ja) but I find eating meat like this is more easy for me.

  7. Joanne says:

    This is total and utter comfort food!

  8. Katie says:

    I’ve seen recipes for Ropa Vieja on Hispanic Kitchen, but I admit that I’ve never tried it. You make it look easy though, Norma. Also, I had no idea that this dish originated in the Canary Islands. I thought it was native to Cuba!

  9. Rosa Mayland says:

    Scrumptious and so comforting! I love pulled meat dishes and this one looks exceptional.



  10. bellini says:

    I would have to say that you have mastered this dish as well Norma!

  11. I love this version,Norma! I love ropa vieja or carne desmechada.

  12. I’ve never had this dish before at least not that I recall but you definitely have me drooling. It looks delicious and full of flavor.

  13. This looks so very flavourful! The pulled meat in the pan with peppers are so good!

  14. It looks wonderful – I LOVE flank steak! It is tasty and this recipe sounds juicy and delicious. Knowing your cooking, I know this would have been delicious! Love sweetie

  15. Pingback: Caribbean Eats! Ropa Vieja – Panama | Caribbean Eats!

  16. bonniedeahl says:

    I made ropa a few years ago…My youngest son (now 20) loves Cuban cuisine and this is one of the dishes he likes. I think I will make it before he goes back to school along with his favorite black beans. The ingredient composition of this recipe looks tasty and end result delicious. Can’t wait to give this a try. Thanks Norma! xoxo

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