Cuban Ropa Vieja and Vicious Onions


Cuban Entree



2 pounds flank steak
½ teaspoon salt
1 Roma tomato (1 additional later)
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1 Roma tomato
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup red wine

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 2 hours 15 minutes.


Add flank steak, and salt to large pot. Add enough water to cover steak with 2″ to spare. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until steak shreds easily. Keep adding water as necessary to keep steak covered. Remove steak. Reserve 1 cup of the water from the pot. Shred the beef using two forks.

While steak simmers, puree 1 Roma tomato. Seed bell pepper. Mince onion. Dice bell pepper, garlic cloves, and 1 Roma tomato. Add oil, onion, and bell pepper to skillet. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion and bell pepper soften. Stir frequently. Add pepper, garlic, pureed tomato, diced tomato. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add shredded steak. Add wine and 1 cup water reserved from boiling the steak. Continue simmering at low-medium heat for 8 minutes or until well blended. Stir occasionally.


1) Most of today’s younger folks have no idea how difficult it is to make ropa viejas, assuming incorrectly that it just shows up on their dinner plates. Nooo! It’s far more complicated than that. The feral flank steak only inhabits certain supermarkets. You’ll need to go online and hire a reputable safari guide if you wish to bring down this cut of meat.

3) And goodness sake, respect the defenses your ingredients have built up after years of human contact. The vicious onion will make your eyes hurt when you slice it. You hurt it. It hurts you. Best way to cut onions is under water. Do you have good scuba gear? The tomato stains your shirts whenever you cut it. This is a reflex action on its part, no thinking is involved. The only known defense against an enraged tomato is to wear red colored shirts.

3) Some ingredients are our friends, though. The friendly garlic bulb wards off blood-sucking vampires, which is good. Do your research. Pick ingredients wisely and be on guard.

– Chef Paul


My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at:

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