Ana’s Ropa Vieja with Muchos Spices and Red Wine

ropa vieja cuban food

Submitted by Ana Osadzinski (Colet)

This ropa vieja sent to us by Ana Osadzinski (Colet), one of our favorite Cuban food abuela homecooks. Congratulations, Ana, for winning the Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest for Your Favorite Ropa Vieja with this family-famous receta!

Ana was born in the city of Bayamo, located on the island’s Oriente province—and moved to the States at age 14. Ana is an expert at making this dish. In fact, she reports, ropa vieja is one of her most requested dishes from her now-grown kids and their kids. A close second is her picadillo with olives and raisins, which she serves with crunchy yuca con mojo—or tostones.

Today, the star of el show is Ana’s ropa vieja. Key to the depth and richness of this traditional Cuban dish is the seasoning. Use a lot, Ana says. “I pretty much use all my spices, everything but the kitchen sink,” she jokes. “And don’t forget the red wine. That’s what makes it really good. Be sure to use a dry, light wine. Make sure it’s a good one. You know what they say: If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.”

ropa vieja Ana cuban
Familia Kitchen Ropa Vieja Recipe Contest winner Ana texted us a photo of her latest batch of ropa vieja. Looks so good and colorful, we just had to post it.

How often does she make her ropa vieja? “Every time we get together,” says Ana, “my family asks me to make it. I know I’ll be cooking it when I see them in California next month. They’re already asking for it. It’s a family favorite.”

Ready to make Ana’s family-famous and Familia Kitchen contest-winning ropa vieja recipe?

Ana’s Ropa Vieja with Mucho Spices and Red Wine

4 from 6 votes
Recipe by Ana Osadzinski (Colet) Cuisine: Cuban
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

3

hours 

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • The Shredded Meat
  • 2 Tbsp 2 olive oil, EVOO

  • 3 lb 3 chuck roast, at room temperature

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 black pepper

  • 2 Tbsp 2 garlic powder

  • 2 Tbsp 2 onion powder

  • 2 Tbsp 2 cumin powder

  • 2 Tbsp 2 dried oregano

  • 2 Tbsp 2 dried basil

  • 2 Tbsp 2 dried parsley

  • 2 Tbsp 2 dried cilantro

  • 1 cup 1 water

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 red wine, dry, a good one that is not too heavy

  • The Stew
  • 1 Tbsp 1 olive oil, EVOO

  • ½ ½ green pepper, sliced

  • ½ ½ red pepper, sliced

  • ½ ½ yellow pepper, sliced

  • ½ ½ orange pepper, sliced

  • 1 1 yellow onion, medium, sliced

  • 3 cloves 3 cloves garlic, medium, chopped

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 salt—“but I cook low salt. Add a little more if you prefer”

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp 1 garlic powder

  • 1 Tbsp 1 onion powder

  • 1 Tbsp 1 cumin powder

  • 1 Tbsp 1 dried oregano

  • 1 Tbsp 1 dried basil

  • 1 Tbsp 1 dried parsley

  • 1 Tbsp 1 cilantro

  • 2 Tbsp 2 water

  • 1 Tbsp 1 capers, chopped

  • 2 Tbsp 2 pimento-stuffed olives, sliced

  • 14 oz 14 diced tomatoes

  • 1 1 bay leaf, whole

  • 5 oz 5 red wine, “I fill 1/3 of the diced-tomatoes can”

Directions

  • The Shredded Meat
  • I always wash my meat. I just let water run over it and then I rinse it.
  • Then, I season the meat really well. On each side, I put ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of black pepper. Then, with the other spices, I put a total of 2 Tbsp —1 Tbsp on each side—of: garlic powder, onion powder, cumin powder, dry oregano, basil, parsley and cilantro. You can let it dry-spice marinade for a half hour, but I don’t. I like to just sear it immediately for the strongest spice flavor.
  • Heat up a large skillet. Once it’s nice and hot, I add the olive oil. I then sear the meat, letting it brown with all those spices on each side. Don’t let it burn, but let the pan and the meat get nice and hot.
  • When both sides of the meat are browned, I add the water and half a cup of wine—or so! You want the liquid to cover the meat, so add a little bit more water if it is needed.
  • Cook the meat in the water and wine, uncovered, for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • Check at 2 ½ hours to make sure it’s tender and that the liquid hasn’t evaporated. You might have to add a little bit more water if it’s too dry and not yet tender.
  • Once the meat is tender, take it out of the pan and lay it on a large bowl or cutting board. I then shred it. I like to use my hands to gently pull it apart in long, thin slivers. Set aside.
  • The Stew
  • While the meat is cooking, I sliced all my peppers into thin strips. If the bell peppers are very big, I will use 1/3 of each, not 1/2.
  • Heat the same pan you cooked the meat in. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute the onion, garlic and all your peppers for about 8 minutes.
  • Add 2 Tbsp of water to your pan to help all the flavors blend.
  • Add the chopped capers and olives, stir together. Cook for a minute or two.
  • Add the can of diced tomatoes, the whole bay leaf, and the red wine. Stir together and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Taste to see if the seasoning needs adjusting.
  • Once the sauce has thickened, in about 10 minutes, return the shredded meat into the pan. Let it boil for a minute or two to make sure the seasoning gets into the meat.
  • It’s ready! Serve over with white rice with yuca con mojo or tostones—Ana’s family’s favorite.

Notes

  • For the can of diced tomatoes, Ana likes to buy the cans with added oregano. “I love spices, as you know.”
ropa vieja
Ana’s granddaughter helps her season la carne con mucho spices.
Ropa Vieja
It’s time to add the shredded chuck roast to the wine-rich broth.
ropa vieja
Está listo! Ropa vieja is ready to serve. Just add tostones.
Ana Osadzinski Cuban picadillo
Our Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest winner Ana Osadzinski, shown here making her Cuban picadillo. Es divino!
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