Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja: Cuba's famously delicious shredded beef stew with peppers!
I've lived way too long hearing about, being tempted by, but not cooking Cuba's national dish, ropa vieja: shredded beef stew.
Finally, last week I immersed myself in a week of research and recipe testing. The happy outcome is this scrumptious recipe for slow cooker Cuban ropa vieja.
Ropa Vieja means "old clothes" in Spanish.
Old clothes tend to be shredded and so is the beef in this stew, hence the name.
This kind of dish is perfect for the slow cooker. The long, slow braise tenderizes the meat and allows all the wonderful flavors to soak in.
How To Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker
My slow cooker lives deep in my pantry closet where it often stays for months. Occasionally I remember it's there, pull it out and fall back in love. It's great for those busy times when there just aren't enough hours in the day (my life lately). I love knowing the crock pot is chugging along for me all day long.
In a matter of hours, while you're off getting work done or (even better) enjoying the lazy days of summer, solid hunks of beef simmer with onions, garlic mild fruity peppers and a deliciously spiced tomato sauce. The meat is transformed to a beautiful tenderness, easily pulled into shreds using two forks.
After it's shredded, the meat goes back in the slow cooker for a half hour more, along with some sliced olives and a splash of vinegar, to build that final layer of flavor. The result is the most tender, succulent and irresistibly delicious shredded beef stew!
What to serve with Ropa Vieja
It's traditional to serve ropa vieja with rice and black beans. Fried plantains are often on the side as well.
Plain white rice will do just fine. There's plenty of flavor in the stew.
But if you're interested, here's what I did to take the rice up a notch: sauté a teaspoon of minced garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for 30 seconds in a saucepan. Add 1½ cups of raw white rice and cooked it, tossing, for about a minute, in the garlicky oil. Add 3 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt, cover and cook on low, per the package directions, about 15 minutes.
Here's a great recipe for quick cuban black beans.
If you can get everything going in your crock pot in the morning, come dinner time, you're in for a treat - a delightful tender stew, ready to ladle over a bed of rice!
Other Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes to try
Here's the recipe for slow cooker ropa vieja. If you make this I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
If you're in the mood for more great crock pot recipes, check out this roundup of delicious healthy summer slow cooker recipes from Cooking Light.