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Spanish Beef Stew

This is sometimes called Ropa Vieja or "Old Clothes," because of its appearance.


  • 1 (1 3/4) pound beef flank steak, cut into thirds
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (16 ounce) can tomatoes
  • Capers (for garnish)


  1. Put steak, medium onion, carrot, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the water in a Dutch oven. Heat to boil, then simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  2. Turn off heat and let stand 30 minutes or cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add large onion, bell peppers and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and sauté until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in the garlic, chiles and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the beef to a bowl. Strain broth, reserving 2 cups.
  7. Shred beef into fine strips. Stir reserved broth and shredded meat into the pepper mixture and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with capers to serve.


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