Skip to content

Ropa Vieja

2012 March 4
by admin

My husband, the Omnivore, traveled to Miami some ten years ago and ate ropa vieja.


Since the day he returned he brought up this dish any time he heard anything remotely having to do with Cuba (whether is was politics, vacations, Cuba Gooding Jr.) and began salivating.  While being a vegetarian I tried to recreate it for him – this was a few years ago – but he only raved about his original meal and never what I made for him.  Now that I do eat meat I was very excited to try the dish he loved so much.

I made this dish in honor of Krystal.  She and her husband are expecting their first baby and Joelen is hosting a virtual baby shower.  The theme of the shower was food that highlights the parents’ heritage: Cuban and Filipino.  Immediately I thought YAY BEANS!  Then I realized, however, that this would be a perfect reason to finally perfect ropa vieja for my husband.


And perfect it is.  This dish is so unique, no wonder the memory stuck to my husband for so long.  It is easy and delicious and versatile.  We ate it with rice, in burritos, mixed with steamed kale.  All wonderful.

Krystal, I am sure you and your husband will have many long lasting and vivid memories of your baby.  I can’t wait to hear about the milestones along the way.  Congratulations!

Ropa Vieja (adapted from here)


2 lb beef brisket, top sirloin, or other roast
1 sweet vidalia onion, diced small
1 small can (3 ounce) pimentos morrones, fire roasted peeled pimentos diced
20 small pitted pimento stuffed green olives drained of the brine
8 clove fresh garlic smashed or put through a garlic press
1/4 c diced fresh curly parsley, try not to add the stems
2  bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp apple vinegar
3 ounces tomato paste
1 small packet sazon goya seasoning with culantro and achiote
3 sprig(s) fresh cilantro diced
1/4 c tomato ketchup
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 c – 1 c beef brisket broth (reserved after slow cooking)
1 lime, sliced for serving


1. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
2. Remove cooked meat from slow cooker and shred.  My favorite method of shredding meat is to place the warm meat in the bowl of my stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and pulse the mixer on and off 6-7 times until the meat is shredded.
3. Strain pimentos and olives from beef broth and mix back in with shredded meat.  Moisten shredded meat with reserved cooking liquid to desired consistency.

  • jen

    this looks amazing and your photos are beautiful. definitely “pinning” this to make soon!

  • Shawnda

    I totally lol’ed at “Cuba Gooding Jr” :) It looks awesome and the flavors sound terrific!

  • Kerstin

    My hubby would love this!  It looks so tasty with all those layers of flavor :)

  • Kate

    This is one of those dishes I’ve heard of and always wanted to try.

  • Carrie

    I’ve had ropa vieja on my list of to-try meals for a long time, but for whatever reason I’ve never made it. This version really sounds fantastic! It looks lovely with that  nice salad alongside, too. I’ll have to finally try it out soon!

  • Anonymous

    I love that first photo!  I’ve never had ropa vieja but it sounds like something Ben would love.

  • Krystal R.

    Awww, you did absolutely awesome. I make this dish whenever I want to persuade my husband to buy me things!! It’s got magic powers like that.  Thanks again B for the wonderful post and participating in my virtual shower! XXOO

  • Nikki

    Never heard of it, but judging by your description and pictures, I want it now! And, what a sweet wife you are…  ;)

  • Jessica @ Sunny Side Up

    I love your photo! The colors just make the food pop and seem so fresh. I just want to reach through my screen and grab a spoonful! Fabulous addition to the shower. :)

  • Kelsey

    I love ropa vieja and am so glad you’re posted this recipe.  Beautiful photos!

  • ahobbs

    Made this recently and we loved it! My pic didn’t turn out near as pretty as yours but it sure tasted great. Thanks for sharing!

    • branny

      So glad you enjoyed it.  The recipe is a keeper for sure.

  • Linda

    would love to try this what is’ sazon goya seasoning with culantro and achiote’,  pimentos morrones, fire roasted peeled pimentos diced and can you substitute red onion for the vidalia onion or is it a shallot?

    • branny

      Sure, go ahead and sub a red onion for the vidalia.  A sweet white onion would work fine, too.  You can juice used finely diced roasted red pepper to sub for the pimentos morrones and sazon goya seasoning is a spice packet found in the international aisle near the hispanic foods.  Enjoy!

  • Nomilkmonday

    I just put everything in the slow cooker! Thank you :} I was happily surprised to see the (sometimes) hard-to-find ingredients at the store down the street from me. 
    The seasoning was a good add to my pantry as I would have never purchased it myself.  

  • Pingback: Putting the pressure on | From Hey! to Horses

  • Peter Block

    I really wanted to feature a traditional Cuban dish and this is it. I featured it on my Friday Five – Cuban addition over at Feed Your Soul Too –