Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe

My family were American settlers in Cuba starting around the time of the Spanish American War and the Raising of the Maine.

Many of the flavors and styles of cooking have been passed down through my family and I have inherited a passion for Cuban food.  We have friends in Peachtree City from Cuba that shared a wonderful Cuban meal with us that centered on Ropa Vieja.  They shared their recipe with me and I have adapted for use with a pressure cooker.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Ingredients

Broth:

  • two 1 lb or greater flank steaks cut in half, preferably grass-fed and local
  • water to cover the meat in the pot
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons oregano
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Meat:

  • 3-4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to cover bottom of pan
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 2 cans tomato sauce with basil, oregano and garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 Tablespoons oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • small can of tomato paste in case the sauce it too watery
  • optional:
  • 3 Tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup chopped green olives with pimientos

Procedure:

Boil the meat and broth ingredients in a large pot for 45 minutes. To speed up the time, you can put the ingredients in a pressure cooker, bring it up to temperature, reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes.  I find that traditional boiling often takes a full hour so this reduces the time by a third.  Try to tear the meat with a fork. If it tears easily, it’s ready. If not, cook for 10-15 more minutes.

Remove the meat from the pot reserving the broth. Tear the meat apart with two forks. Set Aside.

Coat the bottom of a roasting pan large enough to hold the meat with olive oil. Place onions, peppers and garlic in the pan and sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat to make the sofrito.

Add all the meat and mix together. Add the red wine and tomato sauce. Mix together. Add the oregano, sugar and paprika and mix well. Add about a half cup of the broth, capers and olives and let cook for about 15 minutes. If the sauce is too watery, add 1-2 Tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken the sauce.