Lamb Ropa Vieja

Lamb Ropa Vieja

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From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2016

This Cuban stew recipe gets its humorous name from the shreds of meat that seem to resemble tattered “old clothes.” Don't be tempted to substitute boneless leg of lamb; the bone gives the broth exceptional flavor. Though typically made with beef, lamb is more widely available in Cuba. If you prefer beef, use about 3½ pounds boneless chuck roast. Serve over rice, with black beans on the side.

Ingredients 10 servings

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Original recipe yields 10 servings
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  • 1 4-pound bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed
  • 4¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground pepper, divided
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium Cubanelle or Anaheim peppers, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar


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  1. Rub lamb with 3 teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy, 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the lamb and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and simmer, turning the lamb a few times, until the lamb is extremely tender and falling off the bone, about 3 hours.
  2. Remove the lamb to a clean cutting board, reserving the broth. When it is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones and shred it finely with your fingers.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and the shredded lamb; then add tomatoes, tomato sauce, cloves, 2 cups of the lamb broth and the remaining 1¾ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the ropa for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Refrigerate extra lamb broth for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months, if desired; use as the base for another soup or stew.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about ¾ cup
  • Per serving: 296 calories; 13 g fat(3 g sat); 1 g fiber; 6 g carbohydrates; 39 g protein; 14 mcg folate; 116 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 604 IU vitamin A; 54 mg vitamin C; 24 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 436 mg sodium; 841 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (90% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 5½ lean meat, 1 fat

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