Easy Cuban Ropa Vieja

by Chef Zee

It’s no secret that I truly love food. I get excited over creating new flavors in the kitchen and mastering the dishes from my childhood. Almost every recipe that reminds me of my grandmother is one of my favorite recipes. However, Ropa Vieja is really in a league of its own. I have a serious love affair with this dish since it’s full of flavor and that sauce, which is slow simmered, is truly something special! It takes hours to make but the work is really worth it. 

However, ever since juggling a growing business and new health issues, I have started to recreate and reimagine some of my favorite recipes. Ropa Vieja was the first recipe to get a reboot. My original recipe, which is delicious and a fan favorite here on my blog and on my YouTube channel, no longer fits the way that I like to live my life. For starters, it takes a long time to cook, which I have no problems with. Nonetheless, there are days when I want Ropa Vieja right now… not hours from now or even tomorrow! My original recipe braises on the stove for at least 2 hours. My new  Easy Ropa Vieja recipe cuts that down in half by using a pressure cooker. 

Now there are pros and cons to using a pressure cooker. The trick is to know how to build back flavor. Pressure cooked meat can sometimes have the tendency to taste like boiled meat– yuck! However, this doesn’t mean that this method of cooking is not any good. It’s actually quite the opposite. Instead, you have to marry this cooking style with some stove top cooking to bring back texture and flavor! To start, after marinating the meat, I like to brown the meat evenly, thus locking in flavor. I then like to pan fry it again after it’s tender and shredded to bring back the yumminess of our citrus garlic seasoning. The end result is an Easy Cuban Ropa Vieja recipe that’s ready in no time. 

Another change that I made to my Classic Ropa Vieja Recipe, is that I’m now using cleaner and fewer ingredients. I still get amazing flavor, but I feel better knowing that I’m making better decisions as far as cooking  is concerned. I’ve done away with store bought and processed adobo. I use fresh ingredients and kosher salt instead, and I get food that still packs a punch. 

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Now before we get started, I do want to talk about some key kitchen tools that helps me make the best Ropa Vieja ever! First things first, I’m using my Foodi Ninja Pressure Cooker and Airfryer. I personally like this device more than my Instapot because I find that the Ninja Foodi gets hotter. This allows me to get a beautiful sear on my brisket, which helps build better flavor. Secondly, I love the additional features of my device, and it has helped me retire my Instapot once and for all. Nonetheless, whatever pressure cooker that you have on hand will definitely work with this recipe. 

If you’d like to see a step-by-step video on How to Make an Easy Cuban Ropa Vieja, be sure to visit my YouTube Channel- Chef Zee Cooks! 

Let’s start cooking! 

*Note some of the links in this article are affiliate links for which I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!

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Easy Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe | Cuban Recipes | Chef Zee Cooks

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Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 2lbs Grass-fed Brisket
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves Mashed
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves Diced
  • 1 White Onion
  • ¼ Green & Red Bell Pepper
  • ½ cup Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup Tomato Paste
  • ¼ tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Dominican Orégano
  • 1 tbsp Spanish Olives
  • 1 tbsp Vino Seco
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro Chopped
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut brisket into roughly 3-5 in pieces. Remove any excess fat 
  2. Season brisket with mashed garlic, garlic, orégano, kosher salt, black pepper, fresh lime, and orange. Mix together until well combined. Marinate for 20 minutes 
  3. Set pressure cooker to saute on HIGH. Once the device is hot, add olive oil and brown brisket on each side. Depending on the size of your pressure cooker, you may have to brown in batches. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. The goal is brown the brisket and seal in color and flavor
  4. Once all the brisket pieces are browned, add to the pressure cooker along with ½ cup of water, and a bay leaf. Cover the pressure cooker and secure the valve so that it’s sealed. Then pressure cook on HIGH for 45 minutes *Optional - you can add bay leaves with braising the meat at the end
  5. After 45 minutes, carefully release the pressure from your pressure cooker. Then remove the meat and set liquid aside
  6. Shred brisket as finely or as thick as you want and set aside 
  7. Now warm up a large deep sided skillet over med-high heat. Then add olive oil, garlic, and kosher salt. Saute for about 2 minutes and then add the shredded brisket. Allow the brisket to crisp up a bit for about 5-7 minutes. Then add leftover liquid from the pressure cooker. This will braise the brisket and add more flavor 
  8. Once the braising liquid begins to simmer, add tomato paste, tomato sauce and cumin. Stir until well combined. Then add vino seco and let simmer for 2 minutes while the alcohol vapors cook off. Then add the olives and mix. In the end, add sliced onions and peppers. Turn off the flame and let the steam soften the veggies. Garnish at the end with diced cilantro. Feel free to serve Ropa Vieja with white rice and Cuban Black Beans.

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