Slow-Cooker Ropa Vieja

slow cooker root ropa vieja
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Martha's take on the classic Cuban beef stew relies on affordable flank steak. Browning the beef before adding it to the slow cooker makes the meat and the cooking liquid even more delicious. This recipe appears in our cookbook "Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker" (Clarkson Potter).


  • 1 ½ pounds flank steak

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, cut into thick slices

  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thick slices

  • 3 large cloves garlic, cut into thin slices

  • 1 jalapeno (ribs and seeds removed for less heat, if desired), cut into thin slices

  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

  • ½ cup small Spanish olives

  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained, plus 1 tablespoon brine

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving

  • Cooked white rice and plantain chips, for serving

  • Cooked white rice and plantain chips, for serving


  1. Preheat a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker. Season steak generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high. Add steak and cook until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

  2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno, and cumin seeds; season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes more. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Pour mixture over steak in slow cooker; cover and cook on high until very tender, 5 hours (or on low 10 hours).

  3. Transfer steak to a platter; cut in half crosswise. Using two forks, shred meat. Transfer sauce to skillet; cook over high heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in shredded meat, olives, and capers with brine; cook just until heated through, 2 minutes more. Top with cilantro and serve, with rice and plantain chips.

Cook's Notes

Recipe reprinted from "Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker: 110 Recipes for Flavorful, Foolproof Dishes (Including Desserts!), Plus Test-Kitchen Tips and Strategies from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living." Copyright 2017 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

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