Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ropa Vieja de María



María is our dear friend Patty’s cousin and considered one of their very large family’s best cooks. Not only is she a good cook, but you can tell she enjoys it and enjoys sharing with others. Last weekend she shared her recipe for the most often requested recipe on this Blog – Ropa Vieja. You asked for it and we got it for you!

The best part is that María has many other "specialties", so plan to see her on this Blog again!

“Ropa Vieja” literally translates to old clothes because the meat is shredded – trust me, it’s way more appetizing and the smells while this cooks will make your mouth water. Let’s do this!

The Ingredients














For the Broth


About 4 quarts of water
2 ½ lbs of Flank Steak
* Note – If you have access to a Latin market, María recommends that you replace the flank steak with an Argentinean cut called “Vacio”
1 medium onion – whole and peeled
1 head of garlic – whole and unpeeled
2 stalks of celery – whole
2 carrots – whole
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Salt
Black Pepper to taste

For the Meat

Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 cup Olive Oil
1/8 cup Canola Oil
4 Garlic Cloves peeled and lightly mashed
2 Bay Leaves
1 Medium Green Pepper – cut in strips
1 Medium Onion – sliced
½ cup Dry White Wine
8 oz. Tomato Sauce
½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 oz. Diced Pimientos – drained

The Process

This recipe makes about six servings
  • Add all the broth ingredients to water, set to High and bring to a boil.

  • Once it begins to boil skim the broth, cover and set to Simmer for about an hour until the meat is tender and shreds easily.

  • Take the meat out of the broth and let it cool for about a half hour until it can be handled. Discard the vegetables and set the broth aside.

  • NOTE: The beef broth can be frozen and stored for use in sauces, soups, etc.

  • Shred the meat into strands. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste.

  • Using the same pot as the broth, set the temperature to Medium and add the oils, garlic cloves, bay leaves, peppers and onions. Sweat the mixture until the onions are translucent.

  • Add the meat and mix with the vegetables while coating it in the oils.

  • Add the wine, listening for a sizzle. Stir for about five minutes to avoid sticking.

  • Add the pimientos and the tomato and Worcestershire sauces. Mix well.

  • Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes and you're done!

  • NOTE: If you want the sauce to be more “liquidy”, add one or two ladles of broth and stir well, heating for another few minutes.
Ropa Vieja is traditionally served with white rice and green or ripe fried plantains.

María served the ropa vieja with white rice and perfect “tostones” (fried green plantains), followed by the mandatory “cafecito”. We had a fabulous afternoon drinking wine, cooking, eating (of course) and sharing all kinds of stories – not bad for a rainy day!


¡Buen provecho!