This Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja is comforting, rich and an absolute breeze to make! Packed with bold, hearty flavor, this classic Cuban dish of shredded beef slow cooked in a tomato-based sauce with onions and peppers is sure to become a go-to meal and family favorite!
For Serving: Chopped Cilantro, Lime Wedges, White Rice, Cuban Black Beans, Fried Plantains or Plantain Chips
Season meat: Season the flank steak generously with Sazon, salt and pepper.
Brown meat (optional but recommended): Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan, add the flank steak in a single layer. Sear until well browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
Place ingredients in slow cooker: Layer the onions, bell peppers and garlic on top of the meat. Add the bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, vinegar, cumin and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours*), or until meat can easily be shredded. Remove bay leaf and discard.
Shred the beef using 2 forks. Add the olives and brine, if using, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve: Top with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges, rice and black beans if desired. Enjoy!
If using homemade sazon seasoning mix, you can season the flank steak sparingly with salt and pepper.
While not mandatory, I highly recommend searing the flank steak in a skillet until well browned before adding it to the slow cooker. Searing the steak will result in a more flavorful ropa vieja. If your flank steak is too large to fit in the skillet, cut it in half (crosswise) and brown the steak in 2 batches.
If you are in a pinch and can’t find flank steak, you can also use skirt steak or brisket, since they have long muscle fibers similar to flank. If you do not eat red meat, you can substitute 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs for the beef.
While you can cook the flank steak on high in the slow cooker, I really recommend cooking it on LOW, as it will yield a more melt-in-your-mouth tender beef!
Leftover slow cooker ropa vieja can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen in a freezer-safe zip-closure bag for up to 2 months.
Recipe serves: 8-10Nutritional information based on 10 servings.