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Cuban-born photographer Romulo Yanes shares a recipe for classic Cuban Ropa Vieja, which literally translates as “old clothes.” Skirt steak braises until tender in the pressure cooker before being shredded and stewed in a rich tomato sauce. Slideshow: More Cuban Recipes 

March 2018


Credit: Romulo Yanes

Recipe Summary

1 hr 40 mins
50 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an uncovered pressure cooker over medium-high. Sprinkle steak with 2 teaspoons salt. Working in batches, sear steak pieces until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1 onion half and 1 bell pepper half to pressure cooker and cook, stirring after 2 minutes, until browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Return steak to pressure cooker; add 5 cups water, bay leaf, and 1 garlic clove. Lock lid into place and set pressure to HIGH (15 pounds); bring up to pressure over high heat. When pressurized, reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes. Remove from heat, release pressure, and let stand until pressure is completely released.

  • When pressure cooker unlocks, transfer steak to a bowl; cool 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, shred steak by hand. (The pieces do not need to be uniform.) Return shredded meat to bowl. Pour cooking liquid through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; reserve 2 cups liquid. Discard solids and remaining liquid.

  • Thinly slice remaining onion and bell pepper halves. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium. Add sliced onions, peppers, and remaining 2 garlic cloves to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in cumin and oregano. Add wine. Bring to a simmer; add shredded steak and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Fold to incorporate with vegetables.

  • Simmer until meat is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and 2 cups reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer, stirring every 5 minutes, until meat is tender and liquid is thickened, about 20 minutes. If necessary, uncover and cook several minutes to thicken sauce.