Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ropa Vieja Recipe (Cuban-style Braised, Pulled Steak)

I never knew my maternal nor my paternal grandmothers. I was born after both had succumbed to cancer at very young ages. From what I hear, they were both pretty awesome! ;) One was a seamstress, very crafty. The other, a nurse with a heart of gold that was an amazing cook. I guess that's where all of that came from, huh? :) I did, however have the pleasure of knowing, loving and caring for my step-grandma. She always said I was her granddaughter, blood relation or not. She shared many things with me, including this recipe. This post is for you, Abuelita Maria. I still miss you to this day, and smile when I think of how amazingly talented you were at crocheting, cooking, and making everyone around you laugh. This is my grandmother's recipe for Ropa Vieja, and it's Gluten Free, of course!

Ropa Vieja (Cuban-style Braised Pulled Steak)-GLUTEN FREE
Total Prep time: NOTE: Steak should be seasoned prior to beginning to cook for at least 1hr, 15min to prepare, 3hrs to Cook


1lb Flank Steak

3c Organic Beef Stock (Low Sodium)

1/2c Spanish Red Wine (A regular Merlot can be substituted)

Olive Oil

2 Whole Spanish Onions (Medium sized), diced

5 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

½ of a Bell Pepper, diced

A handful of cilantro, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2tbs of Cornstarch

1/2c Water

3tsp Spice Rub*

*See homemade recipe below

1hr+ prior to beginning the cooking process rub the spices on the steak and cover in a bowl, refrigerate.


In a 9qt Dutch oven, heat to Medium heat and add enough Olive Oil to coat bottom. Allow oil to fully heat, then drop in minced garlic allow it to lightly brown, then add onions, when they are starting to caramelize, add diced bell pepper. Allow vegetables to cook down completely until they are almost of a paste consistency. This is called “Sofrito” and is the base for most of Cuban cuisine. Once you have sofrito, place whole flank steak in Dutch oven and deglaze pan with red wine.
 Here it is at this stage.  Your sofrito should have a similar consistency:

Once the red wine cooks down a bit, cover the steak with the beef stock; if needed a little bit of water can be added to fully cover steak. Cover Dutch oven, lower heat and allow to simmer on low heat for 2 ½ hours. At this point, add the cilantro. To thicken sauce, add 1/2c water to cornstarch in a cup, whisk and fully incorporate cornstarch and water. Add to pot, and bring to a boil, uncovered, on Medium heat for ½ hour more. When this time has passed, remove steak from sauce, allow to rest, then shred with a fork and place back in sauce. Serve over white rice.

Homemade (GLUTEN FREE) Spanish Spice Rub:

½ tsp Cumin

1tsp Paprika

1tsp Chipotle Chili Pepper Powder

1tsp Salt

½ tsp Pepper

1tsp dry Oregano

1tsp dry Garlic

1tsp Coriander


In a small bowl, mix ingredients fully with a fork.



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  1. oh my word!
    this looks yumny, flavor packed and easy!

  2. :) hehe Hanna! ur the best! It actually IS easier than most ppl think it is...just time consuming, but definitely WORTH it!

  3. Oh my....que rico ! it seriously made my mouth water while reading...I need to add this to my must try meals...thanks for sharing...xo

  4. that makes me miss Miami ;) it looks delish - what a tribute XO Bev

    1. <3 just saw this comment...loved her with all my heart, her legacy is in this meal and in the other things she taught me <3 xoxoxo


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