Shredded Beef In Tomato Sauce

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Latin American Paleo Cooking Over 80 Traditional Recipes Made Grain and Gluten FreeRopa vieja literally translates as “old clothes,” and the legend attached to this dish says that there was once a peasant who had no meat to feed his family, so he put his old clothes into the stew pot and they were magically transformed by his love and good intentions into this delicious dish. Others say the dish got its name because the shredded meat resembles tattered cloth. Regardless, it is a hearty, classic dis and is excellent for batch cooking.

  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
  • 2 lb (905 g) flank steak, cut crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper (any color), seeded and diced
  • ½ tsp fine Himalayan salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-oz [235-g]) can plain tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ tsp (3 g) dried oregano
  • 1½ tsp (4 g) ground cumin
  • 4 cups (710 to 946 ml) water or Chicken Broth
  • 1 (1-oz [28-g]) jar capers, drained
  • ½ cup (50 g) sliced green Manzanilla olives
  • 2 tbsp (2 g) minced fresh cilantro
How to Make It
  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Brown the meat on both sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, cooking briefly until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Then, add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper, tomato sauce, bay leaves, oregano, cumin and water or broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Return the browned meat to the pan and cover, lowering the heat to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender and shreds easily with 2 forks, 2½ to 3 hours, stirring the pot every 30 to 45 minutes; if the sauce thickens too much, you can add extra water in ½-cup (120-ml) increments. During the last 30 minutes or so of cooking, add the capers and olives.
  3. Once the meat is tender enough to shred, remove it from the pot and carefully shred it with 2 forks. Add the shreds back to the pot and stir in the cilantro.
  4. Serve immediately with your favorite rice replacement (here and here) and/or Plátanos Maduros.

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