This recipe, one of Cuba’s favorite traditional dishes, is called ropa vieja (“old clothes”) in Spanish, for its texture.

Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef) Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)
This recipe, one of Cuba's favorite traditional dishes, is called ropa vieja ("old clothes") in Spanish, for its texture.
Yield: serves 4


  • 2 small yellow onions, peeled
  • 2 lb. skirt or flank steak
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small mild chile, cored and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 12 cup tomato puree


  1. Quarter 1 of the onions, then put it, steak, bay leaf, and a generous pinch of salt into a large pot. Cover with water by 2″ and simmer, skimming occasionally, over medium heat until meat is very tender, about 3 hours. Transfer meat to a cutting board, reserving broth in pot. Trim off fat and gristle, then slice meat across the grain into 2″-wide strips, pound with a mallet, shred, and set aside.
  2. Bring reserved broth to a boil over high heat and reduce by half, 10-15 minutes. Strain, discard solids, then set aside 1 cup broth to cool. Reserve remaining broth for another use.
  3. Mince remaining onion. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions, peppers, garlic, and chiles, and saute until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add parsley, oregano, tomato puree, reserved meat, and broth, and season to taste with salt. Simmer, stirring often, for 20-25 minutes.