Cuban Pork Ropa Vieja Recipe

Cuban pork ropa vieja in a bowl on a table.

This recipe is a traditional Cuban Pork dish, nicknamed “Ropa Vieja,” which means “old clothes because the shreds of pork and vegetables resemble shredded cloth (who knew, right?). This dish is often made with beef, but lots of pork and chicken versions are made as well! It is a weekend favorite of mine and hopefully will become yours as well!

Can You Make Ropa Vieja with Pork?

If you don’t already know, Ropa Vieja is recognized to be a Cuban shredded beef dish. The beef is slow-roasted in the oven with a stew of tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and then shredded. The meal often has olives and a bright splash of vinegar and is served with rice, beans, and cilantro.

Like any traditional dish, variations are made! A great friend of mine makes her variation with pulled chicken breasts, and to say the results are amazing would be a colossal understatement. The flavors of this recipe work perfectly with a pork roast.

cuban port ropa vieja plate

Choose the type of pork YOU prefer. I emphasize this because too often, I hear my friends and family expressing that they never want to modify an online recipe with the fear that it will ruin the overall flavor of the dish. Then, they complain about the recipe for the entire duration of the meal. It is painful, really.  In my opinion, half of the fun in cooking is modifying a recipe to fit your tastes.  If you’re looking to keep this recipe extra lean, you can do so with pork tenderloin, or use a pork shoulder as Sunkissed Kitchen did. The fattier cut of meat adds excellent flavor to this Cuban stew.

How to Make Cuban Pork Ropa Vieja

cuban port ropa vieja ingredientsstirring cuban port ropa vieja sauce on the pan

In addition to the pork roast, this Ropa Vieja has:

  • Onions & garlic
  • Bell peppers
  • Canned whole tomatoes
  • Spices, like cumin, oregano, and bay leaves
  • Olives

The pork roast is browned in a pan first and then placed in a casserole dish.

pork on a panpork on a pan with the sauce

Using the same pan you browned the pork roast in, cook onions, garlic, and bell peppers until they’re softened, and then add the canned whole tomatoes. Some recipes use tomato paste, but I find slow cooking the tomatoes along with the roast condenses them enough to create a creamy and delicious tomato sauce.

cuban port ropa vieja in front of sharp steam oven

Spices are added, and the sautéed vegetables are added to the baking dish along with the pork roast. This Cuban pork recipe is baked slowly for 2 1/2 hours in the Superheated Steam Countertop Oven until the pork is falling apart and quickly shreds.

cuban port ropa vieja going in sharp steam ovenpork shredded on a wooden cutting board

The last steps for making Ropa Vieja are to remove the roast from the pan and shred the meat, and then mix them back into the tomato stew, along with vinegar and olives.

cuban pork ropa vieja in a large bowl

How to Serve Cuban Pork Ropa Vieja

cuban pork ropa vieja plated with ricecuban pork ropa vieja plated with rice

Traditionally, Ropa Vieja is served with rice, beans, and fried plantains, called maduros. However, you can serve with any side dish you prefer. These flavors work well together and make a great family dinner.

Other Baked Pork Recipes:

Cuban Pork Ropa Veija

cuban pork ropa vieja plated with rice

A classic Cuban dish made with pork. A pork roast is browned, and then slowly baked until it’s falling apart in a stew of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and olives. Serve with rice and black beans for a classic Cuban meal, or go low carb with cauliflower rice.

  • 2 bell peppers (thinly sliced)
  • 2 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder roast
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 28 oz whole tomatoes canned
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup green olives with pimento, halved
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped, to serve
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add pork roast, and brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer the roast to a baking dish.
  3. In the same skillet, add onions, peppers, and garlic. Saute until softened, and then add salt and spices.
  4. Continue to saute, and add broth and canned tomatoes. Use a spatula to begin breaking up tomatoes, and allow to simmer about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato stew into the baking dish around the pork roast.
  6. Bake on 250º F for 1 hour 45 minutes in the Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven.
  7. If baking in a traditional oven, cover the baking dish with foil or a lid and bake on 250º F for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, until the pork shreds very easily.
  8. Remove baking dish from the oven, and stir in vinegar and chopped olives. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

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