Ropa Vieja literally translates to "old clothes", why is this classic Cuban dish called old clothes? I have no idea, I forgot to ask my dad. But, he did walk me through step by step on how to make this authentic Cuban ropa vieja recipe that I made in the Instant Pot.
Growing up, I can only remember eating this dish a handful of times. (Crazy, right?! Maybe it's my memories.) Now as a madre, I want to be able to make classic Cuban (and Puerto Rican) dishes to keep the culture alive in mi familia.
How To Make Cuban Ropa Vieja In The Instant Pot
Ropa Vieja is traditionally made with skirt steak. I must admit, I struggled to find this. Price Rite did not have it, so I'm am beyond happy Aldi had it! I grabbed two since they were packaged on the smaller side. You want about 2 pounds. You can also use flank steak as well.
I seasoned my steak with a generous amount of salt, ground black pepper, and oregano. Rub it in and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
I decided to go the authentic traditional route with my ropa vieja recipe and used fresh aji dulce peppers. They can be hard to find, I seriously went to three different Latin markets, so call ahead before going. If you don't have access to it, you can use two tablespoons of sofrito.
This next step is where I did use my favorite kitchen tool (hey, it's 2018) the Instant Pot. If you don't have an Instant Pot, I will post below how to make the ropa vieja on the stove top.
OMG the moment you open the lid the smell hits you! It is so amazing, and honestly, super simple to make. You see the fat that is on top? While it's cooking, it adds delicious flavor, but when you're ready to shred it, you can just remove it with the side of a fork.
It literally took me less than two minutes to shred and photograph it! Now throw it back into the Instant Pot, stir it together, taste it and add more salt if needed. At this time, I love to sprinkle some fresh lime juice over it, cover it, and let it sit for a good half hour.
This is where I say, that's it mi gente....but I promised the traditional stove top method!
How To Make Ropa Vieja On The Stove
For the stovetop method, you're going to first, boil your seasoned meat on the stove in a big pot for about 40-60 minutes, or until the beef is tender.
Once the beef is tender, remove from the pot and shred it. Once shredded set it on the side. Then you're going to empty your big pot, return it to the stove and over medium high heat, add in your oil and saute the rest of the ingredients like the Instant Pot recipe.
Once the ingredients have been sauteed, you're going to add in your shredded beef and lime juice.
If there's not enough liquid, add some more water and taste to see if it needs additional salt.
Now lower the heat to low and allow it to simmer a good 20 minutes before serving.
Instant Pot Cuban Ropa Vieja
- 2 pounds of skirt steak
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 2 sweet aji peppers chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 whole onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper sliced thinly, seeds removed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 4 oz can of tomato sauce
- ½ cup of white wine
- ½ cup of green olives stuffed with pimentos
- 1 cup of water
- lime juice
- In a large bowl season steak with oregano, salt, and pepper. Set to the side.
- In the Instant Pot, set the saute setting for 7 minutes. Add oil into the insert. Once oil is hot, add in onions, garlic, peppers, olives, and bay leaf in. Saute for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Next, add in white wine and tomato sauce. Keep stirring until the timer goes off, about another minute. Next, add in water, mix and then drop in steak, being sure to flip a few times to make sure that the sauce covers the steak.
- Set the Instant Pot on a high pressure setting for 38 minutes, then do a natural release when the times goes off. (Be sure to hit the cancel button when the 38 minute timer goes off.)
- When the Instant Pot has depressurized, remove the beef and shred it in a separate bowl. Remove the excess fat and return the beef to the Instant Pot. Mix the ingredients together. At this point taste and add additional salt to your liking. At this point, add in lime juice to your liking as well.
- Serve over white rice.