Ropa Viejo (Cuban Pulled Beef) via Pressure Cooker

Sheri Roach Recipe

By Sheri Roach ByeByeGluten

6-12 (Depending on the size of the cut of beef and portion sizes.)
Prep Time:
Cook Time:

Deneece Gursky [Smokeygirlxo] here on JAPC gets the credit for this one! She said it originated with an in-law from Cuba, so I consider this to be the real deal. Deneece's recipe was tempting me, but considering how hot Indiana has been this week I couldn't heat up the kitchen with a steaming Dutch oven on the stove for two hours, so I used my electric pressure cooker instead (I can set it in the garage or on the porch, keeping my kitchen cool). I think the recipe could easily be amended to work in a crockpot too. (For cooks who prefer to use a Dutch oven, look up Deneece's recipe on this site.) It would be a good choice to fix on the weekend because you'll likely get the day's dinner and then have leftovers that'll be easy to reheat in the microwave or keep in the freezer for a quick meal or two later--plus you will end up with a fair amount of beef stock to use in another recipe.


3-3.5 lb
beef flank steak or rump roast
8 Tbsp
olive oil (3 t. for browning meat, 5 t. for sauce-veggie step)
medium carrot cut in half (or i used 10 baby carrots, split in half lengthwise)
2 c
celery, cut into 1
2 large
onions, chopped coarsely (i used one red and one white onion; the first onion goes in the pressure cooker and the second is for the skillet later.)
bay leaves
water to cover the meat. (i used water left from making green beans, new red potatoes, and ham hocks yesterday.)
1 tsp
cilantro, finely chopped
3 clove
garlic, mashed and minced
1 c
small green peas (optional)
green or yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped (i also added two banana peppers and may add a jalapeno next time.)
mild chili peppers, seeds removed and chopped (or take a short cut and use one small can of chopped chili peppers). when it comes to peppers only you know how much heat your family can stand, so adjust the recipe to your liking.
1/2 c
pimento, drained and chopped (the pimento adds to the flavor profile, but if you don't have them or don't like them, no biggie.)
large ripe tomatoes (or one large can of tomatoe; i used fire-roasted)
2 Tbsp
tomato paste
1 Tbsp
ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp
ground cumin
to taste
salt and pepper
rice, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes as a complement

Directions Step-By-Step

Trim excess fat and ick off of the beef. In a skillet, add 3 Tablespoons of the oil and heat. Into the hot oil, place meat. Sear to brown completely on all sides.
Remove the browned meat to the pressure cooker and cover the meat with water. (I had leftover broth from making green beans, potatoes, garlic, and ham hocks in the day before, so I used part of that. Replacing half of the water with vegetable or beef broth would also work, but it isn't necessary.)
Add 1 of the onions, coarsely chopped, to the skillet where the meat was browned and cook until softened. This brings out the flavor in the onion. If you want to add the celery to the skillet, have at it, but I just dumped the carrots and celery--along with the softened onion--into the pressure cooker.
Add the bay leaves to the contents of the pressure cooker.
Secure the lid on the pressure cooker and close the valve. Set the pressure to high or 80p. Set to cook for 90 minutes.
When the pressure cooker's time is up, leave the beef in the cooker while you prepare the following ingredients (if the timing isn't right, just leave it on Warm until you are ready; mine was in the pot another 30 minutes and longer wouldn't have hurt anything).
In the skillet used earlier, add the remaining oil and heat. Put the other onion, chopped, in the skillet and cook until softened.
To the onion in the skillet, add the 1 t. finely chopped cilantro, 3 cloves garlic (mashed and minced), 1 cup small green peas and 1 chopped bell pepper and simmer while stirring slowly for 7 minutes.
Add the ½ c. pimiento (drained and chopped), 3 mild chilies, 4 whole tomatoes (peeled, seeded, chopped) OR 1 large can of tomatoes (I used fire roasted), and 2 t. tomato paste.
Use a measuring cup to scoop two cups of the broth out of the pressure cooker. Add to skillet mixture. Add dry powdered/ground ingredients. 1 T cayenne pepper, ½ t cumin, and salt and pepper (to taste). Stir mixture to blend well, cover the skillet, and allow to simmer for 15-20 min.
Using tongs, take the meat out of the pressure cooker and place in a large serving bowl or a platter that curves up on the sides to contain juices. Pull the beef apart (it will probably be falling apart anyway as you take it out of the cooker). Make sure you don't grab any of the bay leaves as you are transferring the meat from the cooker.
Dish up any side dishes/accompaniments and ready the table as the skillet simmers. Rice or baked potatoes go well with this entree; the beef can be ladled over either one. It would also be really good with polenta.
Five to ten minutes before serving, take the cover off of the skillet and turn the heat up to allow contents to thicken somewhat.
Pour the skillet contents over the beef and toss a bit to coat all of the beef. Tongs work well for this.
This is a dish where the flavors only improve with time, so leftovers are a plus! The recipe makes quite a bit, so I froze half of the leftovers to have for a quick meal on a night when I have little time to cook and put the other half in the refrigerator to use for sandwiches or lunches over the next couple of days.
When cleaning up, remove the bay leaves from the broth left in the pressure cooker and transfer the remaining broth to a glass jar to put in the fridge or a freezer container. Use for soup or another recipe.

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Sheri Roach ByeByeGluten
Jan 6, 2013
Greta--My father-in-law worked at IBM and also ran a tax business out of his house (still has a tax business); he was commander at the VFW too. Let me know how your Ropa recipe turns out.
Oreta Rumbawa Sailormom4
Jan 5, 2013
Hi Sheri! Happy New Year! Small world isn't it? I remember the last name Roach growing up. I bet your father-in-law knew my Grandparents or my uncle Donald. I haven't had a chance to make your recipe yet, but I just bought a nice chuck roast and plan on making it this week.
Sheri Roach ByeByeGluten
Dec 25, 2012
Oreta---Gould's Market was about 5-6 houses from my husband's family home. My mother used to shop there weekly because they had the best butcher counter in town. I'm not familiar with your grandparents' name, but my father-in-law probably would be as he seems to know everyone. The Ropa Viejo recipe is my modification of a recipe posted by a guy named Dutch (a cook on here with serious chops in the kitchen). I just wanted a pressure cooker version and one that was gluten free. I have very limited experience cooking Cuban food, but I love the flavors. I do find the leftovers get better and better, and sometimes will make this a day ahead so it can set. Hope it turns out well for you.
Oreta Rumbawa Sailormom4
Dec 25, 2012
Hi Sheri. I spent a lot of my childhood in Greencastle! Many fond memories of going to Gould's for chocolate milk of all things! My grandparents had a house on Crown Street. They were the Calhouns. I am definitely going to try your recipe! It looks delicious! We have a lot of Cuban restaurants here in the Tampa Bay Area, but working all the time, we haven't had the time to try them out. Merry Christmas!
Sheri Roach ByeByeGluten
Dec 4, 2012
For our family it is 1 Tablespoon, but of course you can adjust to taste. Within the pressure cooker I think the flavor spreads and gives a quiet "heat", but if I were making this for my parents I would probably cut the amount in half.