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Ropa Vieja (One of the National Dishes of Cuba)



We are featuring a second Cuban nutrient-dense Tasty Tuesday recipe, because traveling to Cuba to soak up beach time, music, art, history and delicious food is now at the top of my bucket list.


Today’s Ropa Vieja recipe is from one of my favorite recipe blogs, Kimberly Killebrew’s Daring Gourmet. I followed the recipe exactly, and the complex depth of flavor outcome suggests making it again for a back garden dinner party for friends, featuring Cuban music.


The umami-rich ingredients actually call for an accompanying malt beer such as a Belgium Fat Tire, or even better, a light-bodied porter to match the intense richness of this slow-cooked dish—or have iced tea, if that’s your summer evening dinner drink of choice.


This Ropa Vieja tasted even better the next day after the flavors had more time to meld, so this is a perfect dish to make in large batches for leftovers. It also freezes beautifully.


Ingredients for six to eight servings


2 pounds chuck roast (choose a taller rather than wider roast, so you get long strands of beef along the grain)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 of each large green, red, orange and yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth (chicken broth has a stronger/deeper flavor than beef broth)
1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, cut in half
1 large stalk celery, cut in half

1 cup Lindsay* Naturals Green Olives, rinsed and drained (you can slice them if you prefer)
½ cup thinly sliced Lindsay Roasted Red Peppers, drained
¼ cup Lindsay Pimentos, drained
2 tablespoons Lindsay Capers, rinsed and drained
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley


Pat the chuck roast dry and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Once very hot, add the beef and brown generously on all sides. Transfer the beef to a plate. (Do not discard the drippings and blackened bits in the pot, they are key to the flavor.)

Add the sliced vegetables to the pot and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until caramelized. Add the garlic and spices and cook for another minute. Add the white wine and bring it to a rapid boil, deglazing the bottom of the pan (scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan).

Add the broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Return the roast to the pot along with the pieces of carrots and celery. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and barley simmer for 5 to 6 hours or until the beef is fork tender and falls apart easily. Pull out the celery, carrots and bay leaves.

Transfer the beef to a plate and shred it.


Stir in the olives, roasted red peppers, capers and pimentos.


Simmer uncovered to thicken the sauce for about 15 minutes. Add the shredded beef back to the pot and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.


Nutritional value


Bell peppers of all colors are nutrient powerhouses with impressive amounts of vitamins A, C, K and the B vitamins, thiamin, niacin and folate. They also include minerals, copper and magnesium.


When Ropa Vieja is served with black beans and rice, small servings are very filling and provide excellent nutrition.


Eat Well and Enjoy!


Ellen Troyer with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

Lindsay is a sponsor of the Daring Gourmet, so I decided to give the ingredient brands Kimberly recommended a try. I found them in Safeway, and they worked just fine and were a bit less expensive than brands I have been using.