Estie’s Ropa Vieja, for When She Misses Cuba

estie cruz-curoe ropa vieja

This ropa vieja has been on the table by Estrella Cruz-Curoe, called “Estie” by everyone, h just about her whole life. Born and raised in Cuba,  she moved to the States with her family when she was young. Years later, married and mom of two, Estie found herself missing the taste of her homeland in general and real-deal Cuban-style black beans in particular. So much so, that she decided to perfect frijoles negros like the ones she grew up eating. After a couple years of experimentation, she nailed it, and started making them all the time for family and friends.

Estie’s black beans were amazing, todo el mundo agreed — and asked for her recipe. And so Estie launched her own comida company in 2009, devoted to making and selling freshly cooked Cuban-style black beans. Bonus: they’re vegan. More than 10 years later, Estie is still the founder and CEO of del Carmen Foods, which produces ready-to-eat plant-based beans, soups and dips .

If you live in St. Louis, lucky you: her frijoles negros are carried at lots of local markets, including the city’s Whole Foods. If you don’t, you’re still lucky, you can order her beans from our La Tienda and her website.

Her beans are “ready to eat, they’re frozen, they’re fresh, and they’re homemade with my own recipe,” Cruz-Curoe told her hometown press, The STL. “There’s no added sugar, and the other juices in there—and there’s plenty of juices and vegetables—are not from concentrate, so they’re completely natural. We’ve done our best to have incredible flavor and keep it clean and healthy.”

Plus, Estie added: “All beans are good for you. But black beans, they say, are the king of beans. They are a natural antioxidant, they have things that make them a little bit healthier, and they’re good for the earth. The crop is very sustainable. It’s good all the way around.”

What does all this have to do with ropa vieja, this month’s Familia Kitchen recipe contest? Knowing she is an Estrella in the kitchen and a Cuban homecooking expert, we asked Estie to share her own family recipe for ropa vieja, the beloved national dish of her homeland. 

Gracias, Estie. Here is Estie’s very own receta for ropa vieja. Serve it with a side of arroz blanco or brown, and, of course, the dish Estie is most famous for: Her truly delicioso Cuban-style beans.

Estie’s Ropa Vieja—for When She Misses Cuba

Recipe by Estie Cruz-Curoe
5.0 from 1 vote
Cuisine: Cuban


Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the Shredded Carne
  • 3 lb beef brisket

  • 32 oz beef broth

  • 1 sweet onion, large, sliced

  • 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed

  • adobo or salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup lime juice

  • For the Sofrito
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 onion, large sliced

  • 1 green pepper, large, sliced

  • 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed

  • adobo or salt and pepper, to taste

  • For the Stew
  • 52 oz crushed or diced tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry

  • 1 can petit pois, drained

  • 1 cup beef broth, from your slow cooker


  • For the Shredded Carne
  • Mix all the ingredients and place in a slow cooker with the beef, until the beef is tender, about 8 hours on low.
  • Let the beef cool. Cut the meat in 3-inch cubes and shred, using two forks.
  • Drain leftover broth in the slower cooker and reserve 1 cup for your ropa vieja stew. Freeze leftover broth for your next delicious dish.
  • For the Sofrito
  • In separate pot, add the olive oil, onion slices, green pepper slices and crushed garlic. Add salt and pepper or adobo to taste.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Set aside. (It’s never a bad idea to make sofrito in large batches and freeze for future use).
  • For the Stew
  • Mix the tomatoes, sherry and petit pois in a large caserola or pan.
  • Add the reserved 1 cup of broth from the slow cooker.
  • Add the shredded beef.
  • Mix the ingredients together and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy! Serve with rice and black beans.


  • You can use any kind of onion for the shredded beef, but Estie likes to use sweet onions.
  • Estie uses 2 containers of Pomi tomatoes, 26.46 oz each.
  • Petit pois are peas picked before full maturity. They are sweeter and smaller than everyday peas.
ropa vieja
ropa vieja
ropa vieja recipe Lig
We had these plantain cups in our test kitchen and shot a photo showing how pretty ropa vieja looks in them. That said, we recommend you serve ropa vieja alongside a heaping serving of rice and black beans. 🌟

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