Ropa Vieja

This is a classic Cuban braised meat dish. It’s flavorful juices are best served over rice to soak them all up.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 2 hours 40 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 4


  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 lb. flank steak
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Combine the five spices in a bowl. Trim the excess fat, and press spices into the meat. Cut the meat into pieces small enough to fit in the skillet.
  • Place a Dutch oven over high heat and add the oil. Sear meat for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium, place the meat in a bowl, and cover.
  • Sprinkle the carrot, onion, celery, peppers, and garlic into the pan, stirring continuously for 7–10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, and vinegar, and stir. Place the meat in the pan and add enough beef broth so half of the pan is full, but don’t cover the meat.
  • Turn the heat to high and as soon as the liquid starts to simmer, turn the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook on a low simmer for 1½–2 hours. Take the meat out of the pan and rest in a bowl.
  • Turn off the heat and let the pan sit for 10 minutes. Use a large spoon to skim the fat off the surface. Turn the heat up to high and boil until it is reduced to a third of its original volume. Shred the meat, then add it back to the pan. Cook for 3–5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.