Ropa Vieja (“Rags”)

The national dish of Cuba, “rags” or ropa vieja, is savory and delectable. When spices are few and far between, this dish’s peppers bring forward a wonderfully light flavor. Traditional ropa vieja is made with flank steak because that cut of beef is best for shredding, but a more flavorful top sirloin works just as well. Serves 6


  • 2 lb flank steak
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Yellow onIon, dIced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup wAter
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly slIced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly slIced
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded And thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cumIn powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup green olives, halved
  • 2 tsp capers (optIonal)
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped (optIonal)
  • serve with: rice


Generously season the flank steak with salt and pepper. Combine onion, garlic, tomatoes and their juices, water, bell peppers, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf in a slow cooker. Add the flank steak, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the meat and let it rest approximately 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the olives, capers (optional), and cilantro (optional). Shred the meat into fine strips and add it back into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot over a bed of rice.

liza gershman