The ultimate comfort food. Hearty beef stew made Cuban-style with shredded flank stead, bell peppers, onions and a flavorful tomato sauce.
In case you’re new here… hi, I’m Jamie and I love comfort food. Growing up Hispanic pretty much means you eat comfort foods not only on Sunday but every day of the week. Beef stew is a perfect example of a hearty comfort food.
When I hear “stew” though, I think of something completely different. I think of chunks of meat and vegetables in a pot, slowing cooking to perfection. Cuban beef stew however is not too far off. Cuban beef stew is made with flank steak, shredded and added to a homemade tomato sauce. It’s beyond flavorful and always reminds me of my childhood.
We call Cuban beef stew – ropa vieja.
Ropa vieja literally translates to ‘old clothes’ which I always found hilarious. The idea behind this crazy name is that the shredded meat resembles a pile of old clothes. In case you’re curious, this definitely does NOT smell like old clothes. It smells delicious and cozy and perfect all around. I love ropa vieja on top of white rice. The rice soaks up all the sauce and it’s just so OMG YUM.
There are many Cuban beef stew recipes online and in cookbooks. This one is straight from the OG herself – my mom.
I was literally on the phone with her for 45 minutes trying to figure out measurements. See, Cuban kitchen legends, like my mom, don’t know measurements. They’ve been cooking with “un poquito” (a little bit) for years. How her food manages to always taste exactly the same when she never uses measurements is beyond me! Alas, we figured it out, ingredient by ingredient.
Her version will forever be my favorite and I hope it becomes your fave too.
Cuban-Style Beef Stew (Ropa Vieja!)Print Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 lbs flank steak, cut in pieces
- 2 cups water, (enough to cover the meat in the pot)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry cooking wine, (vino seco)
- 4 ounces tomato sauce, (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt + pepper to taste
- In a Dutch oven, add meat with water and salt. Cook at medium-low until the meat is tender, about 2 hours (In a pressure cooker, this takes about 30 minutes). Transfer to a plate. Shred meat and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil at medium heat. Add green pepper, red pepper, onion, garlic and dry cooking wine. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, ground cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
- Add shredded meat to skillet. Stir to combine with sauce. Cover and cook on low for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, without letting it dry out. Remove bay leaf and serve over rice and sweet plantains.