Literally meaning ‘old clothes’ ropa vieja is named after the tradition of using 'second-hand’ meat that is first used to make a broth for soup. This Cuban shredded beef dish is very popular and is often served with rice, boiled taro or cassava.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (21 votes)


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 kg skirt steak or brisket, cut into 6 large pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 1 large green capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, roots and stems finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • steamed white rice and tomato and avocado salad, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Drink 2008 Telmo Rodriguez Dehesa Gago Tempranillo ($20).

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 1 minute each side or until lightly browned. Add onion, stock, 250 ml water and bay leaf, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2½ hours or until beef is tender. Transfer the beef to a plate and drain cooking liquid, reserving 500 ml. Wipe pan clean and reserve.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in reserved pan over medium heat. Add onion and capsicums, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until soft. Add coriander roots and stems, garlic and cumin, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in vinegar and tomato paste, then add tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly reduced.

Using a fork, shred beef and add to tomato mixture with reserved cooking liquid. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced. Scatter with coriander leaves and serve with rice and tomato and avocado salad.


Photography by Brett Stevens.


As seen in Feast magazine, Jan 2012, Issue 5. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.