Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef) – Back Off, Marie Kondo!

This Cuban braised beef dish literally translates to, “old clothes,” because apparently some people thought it looked like old, tattered clothing, but as I touched on in the video’s intro, don’t make this because of the cool name. Make this because it’s one of the most delicious dishes ever, and will most definitely spark joy.

Of course, you have to be into big, bold flavors, since there’s nothing subtle about the seasoning here. Above and beyond a warning, that also should serve as a reminder to adjust the amounts below to match your personal preferences. Compared to some recipes, my version is actually fairly subdued.

Some folks like to braise the meat until it’s falling apart before tearing it, but I prefer the method seen herein. I’ll cook the meat until it’s just starting to get tender, then tear, and finish it in the sauce. I believe that makes for an even better texture, as well as possibly absorbing more flavor, although I can’t prove any of this. You can also, use skirt steak, or big pieces of chuck, but flank is my favorite. No matter what you use, I really hope you give these “old clothes” a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 flank steak (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, or finely crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 or 3 bell peppers, sliced (I also used a poblano chili)
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 cup pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro