Ropa Vieja is my favorite Caribbean comfort dish. The name of this traditional dish literally means “old clothes” which I thought it was because the shredded meat resembles a pile of old clothing, but there are many other theories on how this classic dish got its name.
One of the most popular stories derived from a tale of a poor man struggling to feed his hungry family who was to come home for dinner. In desperation, he gathered a pile of his ropa vieja (old clothes) and permeated it with the love and devotion he had towards his family. He then cooked his old clothes in water and turned it into a real meal of warm shredded beef in a tomato base.
I had only experienced Ropa Vieja at Cuban restaurants and my Cuban friends’ family gatherings. I love the way it tastes with white rice and black beans as I scoop it up with broken tostadas. Heaven!
Now, it was my turn to make this tasty dish.
- 1 tablespoon Mazola Corn Oil
- 2.5 pounds beef brisket (or beef flank steak)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 onion, diced in large pieces
- 1 large bell pepper, seeded and diced in large pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Mazola Sobrecito® de caldo sabor a pollo (chicken flavor or tomato flavor, your choice!)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Pour water, Mazola Sobrecito Chicken Flavor, tomato sauce, onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, and vinegar in a slow cooker. Stir until well blended.
- Add beef and spoon liquid mixture over to cover the piece of meat a few times.
- Cover slow cooker, and cook on Medium for 8 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours.
- When ready to serve, shred meat and serve with tostadas and/or white rice.