Ropa vieja (Spanish for “old clothes”) is one of the national dishes of Cuba, but is also popular in other areas of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama. It consists of shredded or pulled stewed beef with vegetables. This was a dish we had in Havana in 2014. The beauty is that it is done in a slow cooker.
You can omit the olives, but trust me on this one. Serve with your favorite rice or use it with fresh tortillas.
Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef)
- 3 lbs. beef flank steak (or substitute Mexican arrachera)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
- 1 (14-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1.5 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 small white onion diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced ( I used red for contrast)
- 1 cup Spanish olives – green
- 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
Cooked yellow rice for serving*
Slow Cooker Size:4-quart or larger
- Add the beef broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, turmeric and apple cider vinegar to the slow cooker. Stir.
- Add the flank steak and flip it around in the sauce so it gets coated. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives and garlic cloves, mix those items together to combine on top of the meat.
- Cover and cook on low for 9 hours on LOW without opening the lid during the cooking time. Shred the meat with 2 forks right in the slow cooker.
If you have been following me you know that our slow cooker cooks faster for some unknown reason. When I looked up cooking on HIGH (because I was short of time) it suggested 5 hours as the equivalent. Guess what? It was done in a little over 2.5 hours using an arrachera of 1.3 kilos.
LESSON—-dont let it cook while you are away at work unless you know your cooker very well. Keep checking for doneness.