Braised Lamb Ropa Vieja

Every day we get several emails asking for Cuban food recipes and travel tips to Cuba, so we decided to create this blog. Here,  we will publish our insider tips on how to travel around Cuba like a pro. We will also post all of the recipes we have discovered while shooting Cuban Food Stories, and then some from our kitchen and our friends and family. Enjoy! 

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Braised Lamb Ropa Vieja

This is one of our favorite Cuban dishes of all time. I personally love it with lamb, but you can also make it with beef. There are so many different versions of this dish, but this one is the one we love. It’s a very versatile dish, you can have it with anything you like.


A piece of lamb as lean as possible (around 2 pounds), cut into pieces 2 or 3 bay leaves
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 onions (1 for cooking the meat and another one for the sauce (sofrito) 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
1 cup of white wine (or red if you like more intense flavors)
1 cup of tomato puree
2 spoons of tomato paste
4 cups of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/4 cup of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a Dutch oven, we will braise the lamb with all the ingredients. First, seal the lamb on high heat, and remove from the Dutch oven. Then make the sofrito in the same pan. Add the lamb back, and stir fry with the ingredients. Add the wine and tomato puree. If you feel it needs more liquid, add chicken stock (or beer). Cook for 15 minutes; put the lid, and move to the oven.

3. Braise until tender for about two hours. Check occasionally; if it’s getting dry, add more wine, chicken stock, or beer.

4. When tender, remove from the oven, and let it cool.

5. When cool, remove the lamb from the sauce, and shred with two forks. Save the sauce as you will use it later.

6. In a pan, heat some olive oil (or butter), add an extra garlic clove, and add the lamb. Stir fry for a couple minutes. Add the sauce. Cook until the sauce is reduced.

In Cuba, we eat Ropa Vieja with rice and fried plantains. Here in our home, we eat it on Chinese steamed buns or over an avocado toast. We’ve also made it into tacos with tortillas and some guacamole. You can also mix it with some greens for a healthier lunch.

1 comment

  • R. Mark Desjardins

    Having spent 10 days in Havana, Cuba two years ago, I fell in love with the Cuban people and culture. This is a recipe I want to try out for myself

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