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


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

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Dee Gonzalez Deagonz
Jun 28, 2015
Hi just joined ! My name is Dee. I live in New York and recently visited a very popular Cuban restaurant Havana Cafe. The Ropa Vieja was to die for ! I went on line and searched up recipes and came across this one which seemed to be the most authentic. I'm definitely going to make this and will tell you how it turns out. The pic made my mouth water LOL ! Let's see how it goes ! Gracias !
Mikki Green Mikki_Green
Jan 12, 2015
This is a dish my grandmother didn't cook but that we used to eat in good Cuban restaurants in Florida. This recipe really hit the mark!
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Jan 4, 2015
Thank you Nikki. I learned to make this years ago as a newly wed. My dear mother-in-law Yoli, as we call her she is 94 years old now taught me how to make this dish and through the years I changed it and added some other ingredients to enhance the flavor but I have not changed the wonderful flavor of Cuban Ropa Vieja. I am so glad you liked it. Enjoy. LOL
Nikki Williamson NicoleIvy2004
Jan 4, 2015
I had some beef brisket ready to go and wanted to do something flavorful with it. Part of my heritage is Cuban so I Googled "Cuban beef brisket" and came across this recipe. It is SO GOOD!

The sauce is amazing. I was tasting it as I went and it got better with each new ingredient added. I loved the complexity of flavors and various ingredients. I also did the lime rice that Juliann mentions and that was delicious too. This is a definite keeper if you want something that tastes deeply flavorful and authentic. Thank you so much! I would be proud to cook this for my Cuban grandmother.
Juliann Esquivel Juliann
Sep 7, 2014
Hi Mark so glad you liked the Ropa Vieja recipe. It is one of my favorites. It,s my pleasure to share all of my recipes. It's like having JAP members over for dinner at my home. Enjoy and God Bless