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Ropa Vieja

8 Servings

4 hours 30 minutes active

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Ropa vieja is a classic Cuban dish of shredded beef with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers, often accented with the briny olives. The name translates as “old dress,”a reference to the tattered look of the shredded slow-cooked meat. We preferred flank steak for its rich, meaty flavor and unique muscle structure—the fibers shred easily after braising. Look for an extra-large flank steak, which should weigh about 3 pounds, or multiple steaks if you can't find one that large. We like ropa vieja served with rice and beans, along with fresh, crunchy red and white slaw




Don't slice the bell peppers too thinly or the long cooking time may cause them to disintegrate.

4 hours

30 minutes active


  • 3

    pounds flank steak, halved lengthwise with the grain, then halved crosswise across the grain

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


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Thomas M.
October 28, 2022
it's even better the next day
I made this the other night as I was feeling nostalgia from when I lived in South Beach in the late 80s and I'll say it was wonderful. I added some more heat by including a few habanero peppers since I like things hot. This was even better as a leftover meal the next day !
Mary E.
April 1, 2024
We love Ropa Vieja and this is a good one!
I made it as written but feel it could use more and varied colors of bell pepper (one red, one yellow and one orange), also felt it was a bit light on olives (I sliced for appearance rather than chopping). The red and white slaw accompaniment was good but it also needs something else-black beans, rice etc.
Connie H.

Are there any other cuts of beef that would be suitable substitutes? Flank steak is expensive where I live and less available, but I am keen to try this technique.

Thank you!

Lynn C.

Hi Connie -

We haven't tested all of these cuts, but we think skirt, hangar, or tri-tip should all work in this recipe.

The Milk Street Team