Ropa Vieja

One day my mother was watching Paula Deen and she had on famous Latina/s to cook their favorite meals. I have not seen the episode, but she had soap star  Kamar de los Reyes as a guest on the show and he made Ropa Vieja with Paula. Apparently, he also made out with some woman on the show. Had I have been her, I would have crapped my pants and died right there on the spot because, damn he’s fine. She apparently managed to keep it together. Good for her.

This recipe is the antithesis of vegan, but we never claimed to be vegan here at Cooktivism. We eat what we like. I am at home this weekend and this is one of my mother’s favorite recipes. It is a Cuban dish that is usually made with pork. The dish Reyes used called for skirt steak. Yeah, good luck finding that. We went to three butchers and still have not located it. Chuck roast works beautifully in its place. The dish calls for a great deal of cumin. Cumin has a very strong smell. You have been warned.


2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup of cold water
1 (24 oz) can of whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 red wine
1/2 cup of ground cumin (an entire 2oz container)
Up to 3oz of dried ancho chili puree

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Salt and pepper both sides of the chuck roast. Brown both sides of the meat in a pan over medium heat. Mom used a grill pan because she likes the grill marks.

2. Combine all other ingredients, except for the ancho chili puree in a saucepan or a large bowl.

3. In a large, oven safe covered pot – like a Dutch oven, casserole dish, or a deep roasting pan – combine the steak with the ingredients listed in step two. Cover and simmer at 325 degrees for 4 hours. (Yes, FOUR hours)

4. Break up the meat while cooking. The end result should look like pulled pork.

5. Add the puree during the last 15-30 minutes of cooking. The puree is VERY hot so add up to 3oz according to your tolerance for heat.

6. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Toni says:

    If I am not mistaken Flank Steak and Skirt Steak are very similar. I believe there are two types of Skirt Steaks one is flank and the other is plate. They are the more muscular cuts of beef usually tougher and most often used in stir fry.

    Love ya
    Mom C

    1. cooktivism says:

      Good to know. Thanks! -Nina

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