This Ropa Vieja Crockpot Recipe is comfort food at its best. Made with beef, tomatoes, olives, peppers and onions, smoky spices and cooked in a tomato sauce. Serve with white rice and smoky stewed black beans. Yum!
Ropa Vieja Crockpot Recipe
Visiting Cuba? There is no doubt you will come across this delicious national dish of Ropa Vieja on most menus.
This dish is made with shredded beef, olives, peppers and onions and cooked in a tomato sauce. Served normally with white rice and stewed black beans.
Ropa Vieja is traditionally made with flank steak but can also be found made with other cuts of beef such as skirt steak or chuck. For my ropa vieja crockpot recipe I used beef chuck for several reasons. (We will come back to this point later)
Why is it called Ropa Vieja?
The actual translation of “ropa vieja” is “old clothes.” Doesn’t sound so tasty and delicious I know. But legend has it that a man didn’t have enough money to feed his family and so he shredded and cooked his clothes. He prayed while the clothes cooked and slowly the meat turned into a tasty delicious meat stew. I don’t know about you but I like this legend.
Where did Ropa Vieja originate from?
Ropa vieja originated from the Canary Islands, Spain. It dates back to colonial times when the Spanish conquistadors settled in Latin America and brought with them their favorite dishes. Eventually this dish became so popular that Cuba adapted it and it became their national dish.
Go to any Cuban restaurant and no doubt you will find it on the menu.
So why have I chosen beef chuck instead of the traditional flank steak? One, that’s all I had at hand at the moment and two, beef chuck cooks so much better in a crockpot.
Because flank steak is a leaner meat with hardly any fat content, if cooked incorrectly it tends to dry out.
Also if you’re looking for a cheaper cut of beef other than flank steak, beef chuck may be the way to go for you too without sacrificing on flavor.
Making a ropa vieja crockpot recipe with beef chuck will come out moist, tender and mouth watering delicious.
Note: This ropa vieja didn’t come out as “shredded” or “saucey red” because I cooked it for less time in the slow cooker this time because I had hungry impatient mouths to feed and didn’t have the amount of tomato sauce I normally use…still turned out hyper delicious but explains why it’s less colorful and shredded looking. 🙂
For more crockpot and slow cooker recipes you may like these other delicious recipes.
For a Slow Cooker Chicken Ropa Vieja recipe, try this recipe from Budget Bytes
For more beef recipes, try these:
Rellenos de Papa (Stuffed Potato Balls)
Albondigas en Salsa de Chipotle
Ropa Vieja Crockpot Recipe
- 2 lbs beef chuck (flank steak, london broil or skirt steak) thinly sliced
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 green bell pepper sliced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper sliced
- 3 roma tomatoes cut into strips
- 1 jalapeno (optional if you would like a little heat) chopped
- 10 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro coarsely chopped
- 2 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 16 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 6 ounce tomato paste
- 1 small jar of red roasted pepper strips
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 packet of sazon found in the International aisle
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp adobo (optional) found in the International aisle
- 1/2 cup olives rinsed, drained and cut in half
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 lime cut into wedges to sprinkle over ropa vieja once cooked
- Cut meat into thin strips. Season with salt and adobo if using.Can brown meat in a heavy skillet with a few tablespoons of oil if you would like, I normally just add most of the ingredients together to slow cooker.
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker on high for 4 hours or set to low for 6 hours except cilantro and olives.
- After 4 hours stir in cilantro and olives.
- Serve with white rice. Traditionally also served with stewed black beans.Sprinkle lime juice over ropa vieja and enjoy!
Susan Foster says
Looks fabulous Cathy! I’m planning to make this dish tomorrow. Your instructions don’t indicate whether you set your slow cooker on High or Low for the 5 1/2 hour cooking time. Would appreciate having that clarified.
Hi Susan! Thank you and thank you for pointing that out! 🙂 I have fixed it in recipe instructions. It’s 4 hrs on high or 6 hrs on the low setting. Hope you enjoy it as much as myself and my family do, please let me know. Also please note that as I stated in the post, my ropa vieja looked a little pale and less shredded as it traditionally is done because I didn’t have enough sauce and I had some hungry mouths that just were ready to eat. So don’t be alarmed when you see how beautiful yours comes out 🙂
Cathy do you think an instant could be used for this recipe?
Hey Beth! Great to see you around again! 🙂 Yes, you absolutely can make it in an instant pot. I have made Ropa Vieja more often in an instant pot than a slow cooker. Cook for 2 hrs on high, if after 2 hours you would like it even more tender, add an extra hour of cooking time. For low setting, set to 6-8 hours. Hope you enjoy your Ropa Vieja! Let me know what you think!
You may also like these slow cooker/instant pot recipes:
Slow Cooker Pork Rib Tacos
Incredible Slow Cooker Ribs (Boneless Ribs in Salsa Verde)
Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂