Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja: Old Clothes

slow cooker Cuban ropa vieja

5 from 22 reviews

The national dish of Cuba: tender shredded beef stewed with peppers, tomatoes and delicious spices. Traditionally served with rice, black beans and fried plantains.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 pounds London broil or boneless chuck roast (flank steak or brisket also work well)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 carrot, scraped and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 Cubanelle pepper or green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cloves peeled and roughly chopped (10 cloves or 3 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (Vermouth works well)
  • 2 cups good quality canned tomato puree (such as Muir Glenn organic)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Garnish:
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime or two, cut into wedges


  1. Season meat on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Heat oil in a heavy (preferably cast iron) skillet. Brown meat over high heat for 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker. Toss in the sliced carrot.
  2. Add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet along with the garlic, onions and peppers. Turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are softened and starting to caramelize, stirring constantly for the first minute, to make sure the garlic doesn't brown. Add wine and simmer for a minute, stirring and scraping the browned bits from the pan. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk tomato puree, tomato paste, broth, dried spices and 2 teaspoons salt. Pour over meat. Cook on high for 6 hours. After 5 1/2 hours remove the meat. Shred it by pulling it apart using two forks. Return it to the slow cooker. Stir in olives and vinegar. Continue to cook for 30 minutes more.
  4. Serve ropa vieja with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and lime wedges on the side.
  5. Traditional accompaniments are white rice and black beans.

Keywords: Slow Cooker Cuban beef stew, Crock Pot beef stew, shredded beef stew