Authentic Cuban Shredded Beef, "Ropa Vieja" Cubana

Juliann Esquivel Recipe

By Juliann Esquivel Juliann

2 Hr
35 Min
Stove Top

When I first tasted this dish I was swept off my feet. It was the most delicious shredded beef recipe I had ever tasted. I quickly learned how to make it from my dear mother-in-law Yoli, short for Yolanda. Over the years I have tweaked it to my families liking. I guarantee You will love this shredded beef recipe. The name is"Ropa Vieja", meaning "Old Clothes" Served with Cuban white rice or my white lime rice and some fried plantains get yourself ready for a real treat. Enjoy with my recipes for the Cuban white rice or lime rice which have already been posted. Enjoy

pinch tips: How to Grease a Pan


2 lb
beef brisket
1 1/2 large
sweet vidalia or sweet onion diced small
1 1/2 large
sweet red bell pepper, diced small
1 small
can pimentos morrones, fire roasted peeled pimentos diced
20 small
pitted pimento stuffed green olives drained of the brine
8 clove
fresh garlic smashed or put through a garlic press
1/4 c
red burgundy or merlot wine, or a good white table wine if red is not available
1/4 c
diced fresh curly parsley, try not to add the stems
2 large
bay leaves
1 tsp
dried oregano
1 tsp
ground cumin
2 Tbsp
apple vinegar
1 small
can tomato sauce, i use hunts or delmonte, pure tomato sauce
1 small
packet sazon goya seasoning with culantro and achiote
3 sprig(s)
fresh cilantro diced
1/4 c
good virgin olive oil and an extra 2 tablespoons oil for the end
1 large
lime juiced
1/4 c
tomato ketchup
1 tsp
worcestershire sauce
1 tsp
garlic powder
2 tsp
1/2 tsp
black pepper
1/2 tsp
goya adobo seasoning
1/2 c
beef brisket broth
1/4 tsp
cayanne pepper, optional

Directions Step-By-Step

Put brisket in a large pot of cold water add half onion, half green pepper, 1 bay leaf, 3 cloves garlic smashed or crushed and 1 tsp salt cover and cook for about four hours over medium flame until brisket is fork tender and is falling apart. If you have a pressure cooker You can do the same as above; cover and pressurize for one hour. When finished cooking; release steam carefully; remove meat and allow to cool then with two forks beging ripping pieces of meat into shredds with the forks pulling each apart untill all is shredded completely. Set aside
Next in a large deep skillet or saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the rest of the diced onion, green pepper, remaing garlic, (be sure garlic is smashed or put through a garlic press) saute these veggies until onion is translucent; next add the parsley, cilantro, diced roasted pimento, should only use one pimento, continue to saute until parsley and cilantro are limp. Next add the olives and the wine to the sauteed veggies, continue to saute for about a minute; now add the tomato sauce; ketchup, worcestershire sauce; vinegar; lime juice; bay leaf, and all the dry seasonings. Oregano, cumin powder,sazon goya packet,garlic powder,goya adobe seasoning,remaining tsp salt, black pepper,and stir very well. Keep cooking for about 2 minutes until all the seasonings are well mixed into the sauce. Now add the 1/2 cup beef broth. Stir very well and let simmer for about one more minute. Taste a little of the sauce to see if it has enough salt and seasonings you may want to add a little more salt or pepper or a little bit more of ketchup and a kiss of cayanne pepper if you like. If you like a little kick. It's up to your taste liking.
Now add the meat to the sauce and mix very very well ensuring that the meat is well mixed with this sauce. Saute the meat with the sauce for about three minutes; over a medium low flame so the sauce marries with the meat. Cover with a tight lid lower the flame to very low and leave like this for three minutes. After three minutes have passed uncover mix real good again, and serve on top of fluffy white Cuban rice or my white lime rice. Serve with the fried plantains and a salad. This shredded beef is delicious. Enjoy
I like to eat the left over shredded beef on toasty Cuban bread the next day or you can serve on toasted French or Italian bread either way it is wonderful. Buen Appetito
Save the remaining beef broth for making soup the next day or freeze for another dish.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Beef
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Cuban
Dietary Needs: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Wheat Free
Other Tag: Heirloom

You May Also Like:


Bonnie D. Utahn
Dec 1, 2010
Well, you blew me away with the name....I was sitting here saying to myself that ropa in Spanish is clothing, what am I missing! Ha! You sneaky little thing! LOL! This looks so delicioso!
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Dec 2, 2010
Thank you Bonnie this meat dish is really delicious. People who have tried it at our office party or at my home beg me for the recipe. LOL
Trina Alaniz bagma
Dec 3, 2010
Wow Juliann, my mouth is watering by just looking at the picture lol. Another of your keepers for me. Muchas Gracias.
R C rosycalvin
Jan 8, 2011
Very good Juliann! Awesome recipe! Authentic and when I cooked it, I was reminiscing! Thank you for keeping the traditions alive! Gracias!
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Jan 10, 2011
Thanks Rosy I am so glad you liked my recipe. Ropa vieja is a speciality of mine. LOL
Dee * Qtie
Feb 24, 2011
Hi Juliann, again another wonderful recipe. Wish I could smell it. Being in California (not Florida) where do you think I could find these spices?
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Mar 21, 2011
Hi Dee sorry it took me so long to answer. I had not seen your post. You can find these spices at any Latino Grocery store. Goya Adobo and goya seasoning packets with culantro and achiote are found very easy at the Latino markets. Both seasonings are found in the Mexican markets there a lot of Cubans living out in California. LOL
renee Mikulin reneemikulin
Aug 17, 2011
I tried recipe- It was very good, a " make again" in our house. I have a question, was it a typo with the type of pepper used ? I bought red pepper as in the ingredient list, but in the directions it said green. I had a green frying pepper and wasnt sure so I used both. It was a lot of ingredients but the result was worth it. Would be as good with pork. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Aug 18, 2011
Hi Renee, sorry I did not realize I had put in only sweet red pepper. In actuality you can use both red and green sweet peppers. Sometimes if I am out of the red I will use the green. Your ropa vieja will come out the same. I have never made this recipe with pork although I would assume it would be very good. Cuban Ropa Vieja is always made traditionaly with beef briskit or beef flank steak and cooked until fork tender. Glad you enjoyed the recipe. LOL
Aug 18, 2011 - Marina Neff shared this recipe with discussion group: Share Our Strength Cookbook Project
kim b empressblaze
Nov 18, 2012
I love this recipe! I have made it twice in 30 days because my husband loves it so much and so do I. Thank you sharing this recipe. I personally like it better the next day. So so good! I encourage everyone to try it. It is so worth it and you look like a pro. Thanks again!
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Nov 18, 2012
Hi Kim so glad you like my recipe. Thank you for the compliments. Everyone that has tasted this recipe loves it. And, yes you are right it does taste better the next day. Enjoy. LOL
Sal Hakim salhakim
Dec 2, 2012
I just made this tonight with my fiance, we love it. I made a few modifications such as adding a tablespoon of mustard spice, and half a can of La Castena chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the mix. I used a slow cooker for the meat and slow cooked it for 2 hours on low. The result was "absolutely awesome". I can't wait to cook this for my dad when I go home. Thanks again.
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Dec 3, 2012
Hi Sal I am so glad you liked this recipe. I am sure the mustard spice and chipotle peppers gave this recipe a very hearty smokey flavor. I love to hear from people that have tried the recipe. I am sure your dad will like this recipe. Good luck in the kitchen. LOL