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Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

"Ropa vieja" means "old clothes," for the consistency of the shredded beef.

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  • 1 (2 1/2 pound) flank steak
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green chiles (at your preferred heat level), seeded and chopped
  • 4 chopped, seeded tomatoes or 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Cayenne pepper


  1. Put the flank steak, carrot, onion and celery stalk in a heavy pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or so. Remove from the heat and let cool. Shred meat using your hands or two forks.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion, garlic and green pepper until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add green chiles, tomatoes and tomato paste. Add a cup or two of the stock in which you cooked the steak, and add the beef. The consistency should be thicker than soup. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like. Let it simmer for five minutes.
  4. Serve over rice garnished with baby peas, sliced stuffed green olives and/or chopped pimientos.

Serves 4 to 6.