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Ropa Vieja

Ropa vieja means old clothes in Spanish. This meat is cooked, shredded like rags, then briefly cooked again which gives it the Spanish name. Remember that Cubans love peppers, both fiery ones and the green bell peppers.

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 pounds falda - (skirt steak) or flank steak
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ajecito chiles, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped


Quarter one of the two onions. Put in a 6 quart kettle with meat, carrot, celery and bay leaf. Cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Skim frequently.

When meat is very tender, remove from broth. Set aside. Discard vegetables and strain broth through a sieve. Return broth to heat, and boil to reduce by half, about 20 - 30 minutes. When meat is cool, cut off any fat and pull into shreds about 2 inches wide.

While broth is reducing, coarsely chop the second onion.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Over medium heat, ook onions, garlic, chiles and green peppers intil softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups reduced broth and tomatoes. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes over medium heat. Stir in shredded meat, oregano, parsley and cumin. Cook 10 - 15 minutes more.

Serve with white rice.

Serves: 4 - 6

Contributor: Ernesto Ortiz for Sylvia Ortiz        

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