Ropa vieja - Cuban stew

Ropa vieja, a delicious Cuban stew with spices, peppers and olives. Can be made in a slow cooker or Dutch oven. Serve with rice, beans and banana.

6 hours 15 minutes 4 people Main course
Ropa vieja - Cuban stew


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  • 600 gram beef stewing meat
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • salt to taste
  • small handful of green olives
  • dash of dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • half can of tomatoes (200 gram)
  • rice, beans and banana (plantain) for serving
Ropa vieja - Cuban stew ingredients
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Kitchen equipment

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  • cutting board & chef's knife
  • slow cooker / crockpot or Dutch oven with lid
  • wooden spoon
  • 2 forks


6 hours 15 minutes 4 people Main course

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Preparation -- 3 to 6 hours

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. Rinse the bell pepper, remove the seeds and chop into small cubes. If you're using a crockpot you can add everything all at once, place the meat on top and let it cook on the lowest setting for about 6 hours.

There's no need to remove any excess fat or muscles from the meat, it will add extra flavour and you can remove it afterwards. If you want to create the stew in a Dutch oven, or other heavy bottomed pan, you need to sear the meat on all sides until it's beautiful golden brown first.

Then transfer the meat to a plate and sauté the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes. Add garlic along with spices and then deglaze with a dash of white wine and a tablespoon of vinegar.

Add tomato chunks along with the meat and olives and let it simmer on low heat for about 2,5 to 3 hours. 

Ropa vieja - Cuban stew
Ropa vieja - Cuban stew

Finishing the Ropa vieja -- 15 minutes

The meat is done when it completely falls apart. Use 2 forks to create pulled beef and remove any excess fat or muscles. Remove the bay leaves and add the pulled beef back into the sauce. 

Season with pepper and salt and serve with some rice, beans and fried banana pieces if you like. Garnish with some parsley or coriander, enjoy!

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