Ropa Vieja: Braised Beef

One of the best things about cooler weather is the fact that I can make hearty one pot meals- including my favorite: ropa vieja. The name, which translates to “old clothes” refers to the shredded meat and peppers which look like strands of old clothes, get it?

While no one version exists,the main idea tends to be the same: braised beef, peppers, onion and tomatoes. I threw all the ingredients for this recipe in my slow cooker on low for about 6 hours and it was heavenly. Another great bonus about this dish besides being filling and minimal clean up, is that it is a budget friendly dinner.

The meat used is not an expensive cut and since it’s mixed with vegetables in a tomato sauce, a little meat can go a long way. I don’t know what version this is recipe for ropa vieja is, but I would have it lean toward the Cuban version. Either way it’s delicious, easy and perfect on a fall night.

Yields: 4 servings

Preparation Time: 20 min

Cooking Time: 120 min


  • 2 pounds flank or skirt steak
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 serrano pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly cut into medium sized wedges
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed and sliced
  • 2 green peppers,cored, seeded, ribbed and sliced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  •  salt and pepper to taste


  1. If you are using a slow cooker: add all the ingredients into the pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Shred the meat using two forks- it should just fall apart on it’s own.
  2. If you are making this over the stove: Put all the ingredients except the crushed tomatoes, in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer another 30 minutes.

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