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Slow-Cooked Ropa Vieja


Serves 6

  • by from Web only

The name of this traditional Caribbean dish means old clothes, partly because of the way the beef shreds into tatters. You’ll get the right texture by cooking the beef until it’s so tender that it quite literally falls apart. Serve it on white rice and black beans with diced avocado as a garnish and corn tortillas and lime wedges on the side.

  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 medium yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1-1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 2 Tbs. drained, rinsed, and chopped capers
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 lb. flank steak
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar

In a 6-quart slow cooker, stir together the tomatoes, bell pepper, shallots, olives, capers, garlic, oregano, cumin, black pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the bay leaves.

Cut the flank steak in half with the grain, then cut each of these halves into thirds across the grain. Nestle the pieces of beef into the sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the beef can be shredded easily.

Discard the bay leaves. Shred the meat in the cooker with two forks, then stir in the cilantro, vinegar, and salt to taste.

Make Ahead Tips

The beef can stay well on a keep-warm setting for up to 3 hours; shred it and stir in the cilantro and vinegar just before serving.

Photo: Scott Phillips

I would give this recipe 5 stars if it had a bit more "punch" of flavor. I don't know if it needed stronger/more olives, more vinegar or more cumin. However it was easy to assemble and did taste very good. I followed it exactly except I cut it in half, used a 1.5# flank steak and cooked in a 4qt crockpot. It was done in the 8 hrs, shredded perfectly and kept warm nicely while I cooked the rice. I will certainly make it again! We have smaller appetites, and as a meal alone, the halved recipe fed the 3 of us with at least 2 servings left.

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