Ropa Vieja with Olives and Capers


Ropa Veija is a traditional Cuban dish featuring beef that is slowly stewed in a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, and bell peppers until it falls apart into shreds. With the texture of pulled pork and the comforting flavor of pot-roast, Ropa Veija is a real crowd pleaser!

Although it does take a while to make (about 3-1/2 hours), the recipe couldn’t be simpler and it doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time. It’s also the kind of dish that tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have had more time to meld. I like to make a big batch on a lazy Saturday afternoon, then make Ropa and Swiss Sandwiches – a dish I fell in love with at New World Bistro Bar – to eat while we watch football (go Bills!) on Sunday.



Ropa Vieja with Olives and Capers
Serves 6
Approx. 380 calories, 20 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 37 grams protein
  • 3 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs beef brisket or flank steak
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbs capers
  • 1/4 cup green olives, chopped
  • 1. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a heavy stock pot or dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, or until it beings to soften. Add the garlic, green pepper and jalapeno, and tomatoes. Stir to combine, breaking down the tomatoes with a spoon. Add the bay leaf, cumin, and oregano and cook until all of the vegetables have softened. Add the red wine and simmer for 20 minutes.

    2. Heat remaining 2 Tbs oil in a skillet. Add the beef brisket and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until it is nicely browned. Remove from skillet and add to the pot along with your vegetables.

    3. Add water. Cover and cook over medium heat for one hour. Add the capers and olives and cook uncovered for another two hours, or until beef is tender and can be easily shredded into thin ropes.

    Serving Suggestion: Since Ropa Vieja is pretty substantial on its own, I like to balance it out with lighter side dishes. Black beans and plantains make the perfect dinner platter. I also like to serve Ropa and Swiss sandwiches on crusty rolls with a side a braised greens.



    1. really does look like a crowd pleaser!!! mmm, que delicioso :)

    2. Your second pic, of the huge pot and the stain of ropa vieja juice running down the sides…stunning. That pic just wowed me and I just almost wanna lick it. When the pot isn’t hot, of course.

      I keep telling myself I wanna make pulled pork, but always chickn out when I see the price of the pork.

      • Thanks! I like that photo too, but I almost didn’t post it because Shawn told me it looked “gross.” Glad I didn’t listen to him. ;)

        You should go for it! You only need a small piece – it goes a long way! It freezes well too if you end up making too much. The cost per serving isn’t too awful.

    3. LOVE ropa vieja – and what an interesting twist on it with olives and capers!

      • I have to admit that the inspiration for the olives and capers also came from rick Orlando at New World, but I love the little bit of something special that they add. Especially the capers.

    4. Whoa! I can’t say I’ve ever had this but it looks right up my alley.

      Nothing like slow cooked food in the winter and olives and capers are my fave.

    5. Don’t tell anyone for I might lose my Hispanic card over this but I have never made or tasted ropa vieja.

    6. ooooo! this looks so good. i grew up in south florida so i know ALL about ropa veja. haven’t had it in years and never thought of adding it to a sandwich. good idea!

    7. This could not look more delicious Lauren. I literally want to eat it right off the screen.

    8. What a tasty looking dish. I love it. Your photography just gets better and better as well. :)

    9. This looks good! Really good!)))

    10. Made it tonight. I added a few carrots. Only thing I would do differently is maybe nix the capers. Really solid though. I used a big flank steak.

    11. Oh my goodness – that looks so delicious. My husband would go gaga for this!

    12. If you’d like to try my recipe, served at both New World Bistro Bar and New World H
      ome Cooking, here it is!
      Cheers, Ric Orlando

    13. If you’d like to try my recipe, served at both New World Bistro Bar and New World Home Cooking, here it is!
      Cheers, Ric Orlando

    14. bonnie lakatos says:

      i dined at new world cafe (ric orlando’s restaurant upstate ny) and had this dish of ric orlando’s – it was a myriad of flavors and prepared so well that i felt i died and went to heaven – amazing!!!!!


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