Emeril's Ropa Vieja


YIELD 6 to 8 Servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 broken bay leaves
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1 jalapeno, halved
2 large onions, quartered, plus 1 large onion,sliced, divided
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, mashed
2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef brisket, in 1 piece
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups reserved beef broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 roasted green bell pepper, peeled and seeded, cut into thin strips
8 ounces tomato sauce
Lime Wedges, for garnish, optional
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish, optional
Crispy Tortillas with Lime Salt, for garnish, recipe follows
Pico de Gallo, for serving
Avocado Crema, for serving
Fresh Tortillas, for serving


  1. Add the olive oil to a large, heavy pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons salt, broken bay leaves, crushed red pepper flakes and halved jalapeno and stir. Add the quartered onions, chopped carrot, cilantro, and mashed garlic cloves and stir again. Place the brisket in the pot, season with salt and pepper and add enough water to cover by 2-inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so that the liquid just simmers, and cook the brisket until the meat is tender enough to shred, 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Remove the meat from the cooking liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Strain the cooking broth through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the broth for the ropa vieja and use the remaining broth for another purpose.
  3. When the meat has cooled, shred it into 3 to 4-inch strands. Set aside.
  4. Combine the minced garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a mortar and pestle and work into a smooth paste. Set aside.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the sliced onion. Sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic paste and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the reserved beef broth, wine, and vinegar. Add cayenne, chili powder, Chipotle powder, cumin and simmer for 5 minutes Add the shredded beef and roasted green pepper strips, tomato sauce, stir to combine, and cook, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the meat is fork tender and falling apart, coated with a thick sauce, and the flavors have come together. If the sauce gets too thick, add a bit more of the reserved beef broth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and serve, garnished with Pico de Gallo, Avocado Crema, lime wedges and cilantro, if desired.
  7. To serve, fill fresh tortilla with Ropa Vieja. Squeeze lime juice over meat. Top with Pico de Gallo, Avocado Crema and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs.

    Editor's Note: Look for heritage pork or other antibiotic/hormone-free varieties.

  8. Learn more about sustainable food choices with our Eat Green Guide.

  9. This recipe was featured on the Slow Cooker episode of Emeril Green.

This recipe appears in: Beef
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