Ropa Vieja {Cuban Braised Shredded Beef}
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4+ servings
  • 2 lb beef brisket ("first cut" a/k/a "flat cut")
  • 5 T vegetable oil
  • 2 onions (cut in half through the stem, then sliced thinly)
  • 2 red peppers (seeds removed and sliced into thin strips, about the same size as the onions)
  • 2 anchovy filets (or 1 t anchovy paste)
  • 4 garlic cloves (sliced or minced or use a zester)
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1.5 t oregano
  • .5 c pinot grigio (or other dry white wine)
  • 2 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • .75 c pitted green olives (chopped coarse)
  1. Cut brisket into 2-inch wide strips. Do this by cutting against the grain. Cut Against the Grain by My Utensil Crock
  2. Cut any long strips in half, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. When warm, add 2 T vegetable oil, heat until it smokes, and swirl it around the pot to coat the bottom lightly.
  4. Add half the meat, and brown on all sides, transferring the meat to a large plate or a bowl, adding more oil if needed for the second batch (about 7 min per batch).
  5. When you have removed the second batch, add the onions and peppers to the pot and cook until they brown and soften, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the vegetables from the pot to a large plate or a bowl. Note: the vegetables don't go in the oven with the meat!
  7. At this point, start the oven heating to 300, with a rack in the middle.
  8. Add 1 T vegetable oil to the pot. As soon as the oil heats, add the anchovy filets or anchovy paste, garlic, cumin, and oregano, and cook for 30 seconds, breaking up the anchovy as you cook.
  9. Add the wine a little at a time, using it to deglaze the pan (deglaze = loosen the brown bits at the bottom of the pan, use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off and help it along). The wine will mostly evaporate.
  10. Turn down the heat to medium, stir in the chicken broth and tomato sauce, and add the bay leaves.
  11. Return the meat to the pot (along with any juices under the meat), and bring the liquid to a low boil.
  12. Remove from heat, cover the pot with foil loosely, and place a lid on the pot over the foil.
  13. Place in the oven for 2 to 2.25 hours. If the meat isn't completely submerged, flip it halfway through. Careful for the steam when you do!
  14. When the braising is done, remove the pot from the oven and remove the meat from the pot, placing it on a large plate or cutting board. Let it cool a little.
  15. Meanwhile, place the pot over medium-high heat, and add the olives, onions, and peppers back to the pot. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, stirring periodically, reducing the sauce a bit.
  16. When the meat is cool enough to handle, remove any remaining fat and discard the fat (I use the back of a knife to scrape it off in one piece).
  17. Then, using two forks, shred the meat into bite-sized chunks. Just insert one fork into the grain, and pull it apart with the other fork.
  18. Stir the shredded meat back into the sauce. And enjoy!
Recipe by My Utensil Crock at