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  • 2 lbs. beef flank steak, or skirt steak, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt, to taste

Ropa vieja

  • ½ cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • ½ can (3 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Ropa Vieja is a traditional Cuban dish – its name literally translates to “old clothes” in Spanish because it’s a messy, but delicious and colorful, combination of ingredients: meat, peppers, onions, all thrown together like a pile of old clothes!


  1. In a large skillet or pot, place the 6 cups of beef broth, vegetable oil, cloves, garlic, cumin, fresh cilantro, bay leaves, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours, until the beef is tender.
  2. Remove meat from heat and reserve broth. Once meat has cooled down, shred and reserve.

Ropa Vieja

  1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, red and green bell pepper. Sauté until the onions become translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, salt and continue to cook for about 2 additional minutes. Add the tomato puree and 1 cup of reserved broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Stir in the shredded beef, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with white rice and fried plantains.

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