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Ropa Vieja

Difficulty: hard

Total Time: < 240min

Makes: 4-8

Ropa Vieja – literally ‘Old Clothes’ – is one of the classic, Cuban slow-cooked dishes, much loved by Cubans. You will find similar dishes in South America and the principle is also quite similar to an Italian ragout. Ropa Vieja takes a bit of time and effort, but the ingredients are relatively inexpensive, it’s very tasy and nourishing and keeps well for up to 48 hours in the fridge – just reheat thoroughly. Typically served in Cuba with rice and plantain – just fry ripe plantain slices or strips for the perfect accompaniment. Black beans also go well – see our recipe for Cuban Black Beans


1kg beef flank steak

1 large chopped onion

50gm red pepper chopped small

50gm green pepper chopped small

300gm chopped tomatoes - fresh or tinned

1 red chilli - chopped small

Tablespoon each of chopped flat-leafef parsley, oegano and cilantro/coriander

Quarter tabelspoon salt

Quarter tablespoon minced garlic

2 sprigs watercress

Half teaspoon ground black pepper

25mg olive oil

250ml litre water


  1. Chop the beef into large pieces and brown in the oil, adding the chopped onion towards the end
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except for the water and heat together for around a minute
  3. Place all of the ingredients either in a covered pan or a pressure cooker and add the water. If in a pressure cooker, cook for 40 minutes; if in a covered pan, for 3-4 hours
  4. When the dish is thoroughly cooked to a thick, saucey consistency and the beef is tender and falling apart, shred it with a fork. Check for salt and add more if needed
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