One Pot Dinner: Ropa Vieja


This dish which originates from Cuba literally translated means “old clothes” which refers to the texture of the meat. This is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes. It can easily be made on the stove as well. Cuban food isn’t spicy but it’s very savory. Sometimes I add just a 1/4 cup high quality sherry vinegar which adds a little tang.

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. flank or skirt steak (cut with the grain into 3 large pieces)
1 quart water
1 large carrot, diced
1 large rib of celery, diced
1 white onion, sliced thinly
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
freshly cracked pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup tomato paste

Place the slices of meat into the slow cooker. Add the vegetables, bay leaf and spices and then cover with the water. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 5 hours. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.  With your hands, pull the meat into long strip and place back into the broth. Stir well and allow to reheat.

Season on with salt and pepper to your liking and stir in the tomato paste.  At this point you can put the slow cooker on low until you are ready to serve. This dish can be eaten as a hardy stew with warmed tortillas, sour cream and sliced avocados or the meat can be used as fillings for tacos. And as with most soups, it taste better the next day.



Side Note from Kimberly: If you love Cuban food and happen to be near sunny, Bradenton, Florida go to Jose’s Real Cuban. I went there last year while visiting a dear friend and I am counting the minutes until I can have some more Lechon Asado (roasted pork) and sangria. 

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