Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja


  • About 2-3# of lean beef (flank steak, chuck steak, or thick top sirloin). Trim most of fat off
  • 10 or more cloves garlic (7 whole and unpeeled, 3 will be chopped)
  • Several grindings of coarse black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • About 4 jalapeno or other spicy chile peppers (roasted and peeled, or even canned jalapenos)
  • About 1/2 small can of roasted mild green chiles (e.g. Ortega chiles), or 1 Anaheim pepper, roasted, peeled
  • 2 onions sliced
  • About 2 Tablespoons oil
  • Bit of ground cumin, oregano to taste (optional)
  • Bit of cilantro (small handfull) chopped, to taste


  1. Place beef in hot cast-iron or other heavy pan for simmering. Saute a few minutes to brown slightly, add a little oil if needed
  2. Add water or broth to cover (e.g. half chicken broth, half water), 7 unpeeled garlic cloves, and black pepper. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat until tender and well cooked (about 3 hours typically). Check occasionally and add liquid if needed.
  3. When meat is tender, remove from heat and let cool in cooking liquid. Once cool, pull meat apart in shreads with fingers or fork and return to broth
  4. Heat oil in large heavy pan and add remaining garlic cloves (chopped) and onion, and saute about 5 minutes, until soft, then add chiles and spices
  5. Cook again, uncovered over medium heat, until flavors blended and much of the liquid has evaporated. A large wide pan helps speed this up (may take over 30 minutes to evaporate all liquid). Add cilantro a few minutes before done, salt to taste, adjust seasonings.

Serve with tortillas, salsa and other fixings. One way its served in Mexico is with a fried egg on top, can add diced potatoes... lots of possibilities!