Named one of Cuba’s national dishes with its bold spiced tomato flavors and tender braised-style beef, it’s not hard to see why Ropa Vieja with Rice is a country-wide favorite – and a classic dish that never goes out of style!
Prepare rice according to package directions.
Season flank steak with half each salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Cook flank steak for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until browned all over; remove from pan.
Add remaining oil to the pan. Cook onions, bell peppers, and garlic, for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. Stir in cumin, oregano, paprika, smoked paprika, remaining salt and pepper, allspice and cloves. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and fragrant. Stir in wine; bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, broth, water, tomato paste and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Add flank steak. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, at a gentle simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until meat is very tender.
Transfer meat to a large bowl and shred with 2 forks. Stir shredded meat back into the sauce. Stir in cilantro.
This colorful and flavorful dish is so loved in many parts of the Caribbean, it has been designated one of Cuba’s national dishes. Consisting of shredded flank steak and vegetables in a vibrant, tomato-based sauce that is commonly paired with sides like fried plantains and rice, its a great representation of the bold and fragrant flavors that are found in Caribbean cuisine.
But if you’re not familiar with the dish, you may wonder why its called Ropa Vieja, which means “old clothes” in Spanish. The dish was named Ropa Vieja because after it is cooked and the shredded beef is mixed with the colorful and tender vegetable strips, it resembles a heap of colorful rags.
Variations of this tasty dish are also popular in other areas of the Caribbean such as Panama and Puerto Rico, and as far on the other side of the planet as Spain and the Philippines. Some recipe variations tend to feature a version with sweeter undertones that is perfect for those who like a little less heat in their food.
The Mahatma® version features a perfect balance of tomato and spices that follows the traditional Cuban dish that we’re sure your family will ask for again and again. Meat and vegetables are served over a fluffy bed of aromatic Mahatma® Jasmine Rice grains for a complete meal.
And if you and your family are fans of bold tomato flavors and exploring other countries’ cuisine, try this hearty and delicious Tuscany Rice & Bean Soup with Sausage for another tasty dinner option you and your family are sure to love!