Cuban Ropa Vieja features tender shredded beef simmered in the most flavorful sauce of tomatoes, bell peppers and spices. This hearty Ropa Vieja recipe is made easily in the slow cooker.
My love for Cuban food runs deep! One of my favorite Cuban recipes is this tasty and succulent Slow Cooker Cuban Mojo Pork made with citrus, garlic and spices. A simple crock pot recipe that requires minimal prep and delivers incredible flavors!
Don’t miss the video showing how to make Slow Cooker Cuban Mojo Pork at the bottom of the recipe card!
There is something wonderful about cooking beef low and slow. It always produces tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth, delicious beef. This slow cooker beef recipe delivers just that! Amazingly tender beef that is full of Cuban flavors!
Slow Cooker meals are so convenient, especially during busy week days. There’s always so much going on with work and school that coming home to a delicious homemade meal cooked in the crock pot is really a treat.
This crock pot recipe benefits in flavor from searing the beef before adding it to the slow cooker. No worries, you can easily do this while you are prepping your veggies. Trust me, the amazing flavors developed from browning the meat far outweighs the 10 minutes spent on this easy task.
What is Ropa Vieja
- Ropa Vieja is one of the most famous dishes of Cuba. It is known as “Cuba’s National Dish”. It is also very popular in some Caribbean countries like Puerto Rico.The word Ropa Vieja means “old clothes” in Spanish. Some people say the name refers to the braised beef shreds and colorful pepper slices that resembles raggedy old clothes. Whether that is true or not, one thing is certain, this braised beef is full flavored and melt in your mouth delicious!
What kind of Beef to use for Ropa Vieja
- The best cut for making this Cuban slow cooker stew is flank steak. I know! This came as a surprise to me as I thought a fattier cut of meat would be best suited for low and slow cooking. However, in this recipe the flank steak cooks in a spiced bath of tomato sauce and veggies, then is pulled into strands and then smothered in the rich sauce. This simple process keeps the flank steak extremely tender and juicy.
- You can also use beef brisket or chuck roast, however the dish may end up a little bit greasier. In this case, skim some of the fat before serving it.
How To Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker
- For this braised beef recipe, I highly suggest that you brown the beef before placing it into the slow cooker.
- If you have a slow cooker with an aluminum insert, brown the meat in the insert to preserve all the accumulated brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Those are full of flavor!
- After browning the flank steak, saute the onions and peppers in the same skillet. The vegetables will absorb all the bits of beef flavor left in the skillet.
- Place the carrots and celery at the bottom of the crock pot, then some of the bell peppers and onions. Place the seared flank steak on top and finish by placing the rest of the onions and peppers on top of the beef.
- Pour the the wine, broth, tomatoes and seasonings into the slow cooker and gently mix it to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
- Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred the meat into thin and long shreds.
- Return the meat to the crock pot, add the olives, parley or cilantro and season to taste. Cook on low for an additional 20 minutes.
Traditionally, this slow cooker stew is served with white rice. The rice helps soak up all the delicious juices from his mouthwatering homemade beef stew. I also like to serve it with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.
- If you want an extra boost in flavor, you can add 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon the last 20 minutes of cooking.
- This mouthwatering Cuban Mojo Chicken is oven roasted until golden perfection!
- Check out these tasty slow cooker recipes
Chile Colorado Beef Stew
Slow Cooker Carnitas
Slow Cooker Pork Chile Verde
Sauerbraten (German Stew perfect for Oktoberfest)
Irish Lamb Stew
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Cuban Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Recipe)
- 2 pounds flank steak
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil (divided)
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 3 bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (I used red, green and yellow)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut in half
- 1 celery rib, halved crosswise
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (14-ounces) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup pimento-stuffed olives, sliced into thirds
- Chopped cilantro or parsley (I use about 1 - 2 tablespoons)
- Cut the flank steak into 2 or 3 large pieces that will fit comfortably in your slow cooker. Season the meat with salt and ground black pepper.
- Heat about 2 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches if needed, add the steak and sear the meat on both sides for about 5 -6 minutes or until browned. Transfer the meat to a plate.
- Add the remaining oil to the skillet, the sliced onions and bell peppers and cook for about 5 - 6 minutes or until the vegetables become tender. Lower the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook for an additional minute.
- Place the carrots and celery at the bottom of the slow cooker. Place half of the pepper and onions on top. Place the seared flank steak on top of the vegetables and pour the rest of the onion/pepper mixture on top.
- Stir in the wine, broth, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, oregano, cumin, all-spice, paprika, and bay leaves. Gently mix to combine.
- Cook on low for 8 hours hours or on high for 4.5 to 5 hours until the beef is tender and shreds easily with 2 forks.
- Remove the carrots, celery and bay leaves from the slow cooker. Remove the beef from the slow cooker and using 2 forks, pull apart into thin, long shreds.
- Return the shredded beef into the pot and mix to combine. Add the olives and chopped cilantro or parsley and mix well. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste and cook on low for an additional 20 minutes. Serve garnished with extra cilantro or parsley if desired.
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
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