Cookbook:Ropa Vieja (Caribbean Shredded Beef)

Ropa Vieja (Caribbean Shredded Beef)
CategoryMeat recipes

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Ropa vieja, which is Spanish for "old clothes," is a popular Caribbean dish consisting of shredded beef (often skirt or flank steak), vegetables, and a sauce.

The origin of ropa vieja is from the Canary Islands, which are Spanish islands off the coast of North Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. The original version of Ropa Vieja contained leftovers, but later became a shredded meat dish with garbanzo beans and potatoes in the Canary Islands. Some versions in the Canary Islands contain beef or chicken or pork, or a combination of any of the three. Ropa vieja is widely prepared in the Caribbean today. Ropa vieja is listed among traditional Panamanian cuisine, Cuban cuisine, Puerto Rican cuisine, Dominican cuisine and Canarian cuisine.

Below is a typical Cuban recipe, which does not include garbanzo beans.




  1. Cut the meat in pieces, not too small, not too big. Using a pressure cooker, boil the meat for about 15 minutes. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the water to avoid foaming; also, add a teaspoon of salt. After boiling the meat, save 1 cup of the broth.
  2. Shred the meat in thin strips using a fork. Chop the onion, cut the peppers in thin strips and mince the garlic cloves.
  3. Sauté the garlic and the onion for a bit in hot oil, then add the peppers, sauté a bit more. Add the meat and the rest of the ingredients, including the cup of broth.
  4. Cook the mix over low heat for 20–30 minutes. Stir a few times. Season to taste.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • You can also add a hint of red wine to spice it up.