World Food Challenge

Day 45: Cuba and Ropa Vieja Cubana

Buenas, Raffies!

Tonight we are going to Cuba and enjoy some nice Ropa vieja cubana.
This dish is the most famous dish on the island, but it seems that it is not originally a Cuban dish. Variations of this dish exist all over Latin America and even as far as Spain.

Ropa vieja takes a lot of time to make, I won’t deny it. Therefore, if you can, prepare the cocido – the meat- the night before. I didn’t, but I used the pressure pot to speed things up. As for the recipe, I used a version in Spanish. I accompanied the Ropa vieja with some fried potatoes.

The dish itself was very flavourful and very tasty. My only regret is that my meat did not make those nice strings..guess I’ll have to practice some more or cook it longer..


For the stew:

400 g beef

1.5 l water

1 turnip

1 carrot

1 leek

1 stalk of celery

1 stalk of parsley


2 bay leaves


For the Ropa Vieja:

the meat from the stew

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 green bell pepper, julienned

1 tomato, skinned and finely chopped

1 chili pepper, minced

2 cloves of garlic


1 tsp cumin

75 ml white wine

150 ml meat stock, from the stew

100 ml tomato sauce



Chop the celery, leek, cilantro and parsley quite roughly, so that it will be easy for you to remove them later. Take a pressure pot, this will cut on the cooking time, and pour in the water, meat and the vegetables you just cut. Season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves. Close and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Remove the meat from the pot and pull it with a fork. Keep 200 ml of the stock and proceed.

It is time for the real deal: making Ropa Vieja.

In a mortar, pound the garlic, cumin and cilantro with a pinch of salt. Once you have a paste, put aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Once it starts turning translucent, add the bell peppers and season with a little salt. Stir it well and fry for approximately 5 minutes.

Add the tomato  and stir well, then add the pounded garlic mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the meat and season with pepper and pour in the white wine. Once it has reduced, add the stock and the tomato sauce and mix well. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.

Season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer for about 25 minutes without covering with a lid. Once it got a nice consistency, turn off the heat. It depends on your personal preference, whether you would like it more soupy or more on the dry side.

To serve, you can fry up some potatoes, plantains, rice or bread.

If you would like to, you can serve the soup first and the meat afterwards. It is really up to you!


Have you ever tried Cuban food or visited the island? Let me know in the comments below.



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