The Happy Home Cook: Ropa Vieja – Shredded Beef and Vegetables in Tomato Sauce

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Ropa Vieja (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Ropa Vieja (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Ropa Vieja, which is Spanish for ‘old clothes’ tastes nothing but old. It is a delicious dish combination of all the leftovers from the traditional Filipino Beef Pochero. I had enough leftovers to transform everything into a new meal. All I needed was approximately a cup of each: shredded beef, various vegetables, tomato sauce, broth. Then the easiest and best part was to just saute everything together in a skillet and dinner was done in minutes. My mom loved to make this after our Sunday suppers and I carry on the tradition with my family. This is a recipe and it serves 2 to 4.


vegetable or corn oil - 4 Tablespoons
garlic - 4 cloves, minced
onion - 1 whole, medium, chopped
fish sauce or Filipino 'patis' - 1 Tablespoon (from Asian markets)
tomato sauce - 1 cup, leftover from Beef Pochero (or canned)
broth - 1/2 cup
shredded beef - 1 cup, cooked, leftover from Beef Pochero
Spanish chorizos - 1/2 cup, cooked and sliced, leftover from Beef Pochero
potatoes - 4 to 5 quartered pieces, cooked, from leftovers
carrots - 1/2 cup of sliced pieces, cooked, from leftovers
green beans - 1/2 cup of sliced pieces, cooked, from leftovers
baby bok choy or Chinese cabbage - 1 cup, cooked, shredded, from leftovers (from Asian markets)
plantains, or sweet bananas 'saging saba' - 1 cup, cooked, sliced, from leftovers (from Asian markets or major groceries)
salt - 1 teaspoon
black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
boiled jasmine white rice - for serving


  • In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable or corn oil. Saute the garlic and onions. Add the fish sauce or Filipino ‘patis’. Cook for 1 minute or till onions are soft and translucent.

  • Add the tomato sauce from the Beef Pochero dish and broth. Blend well till broth boils. Lower heat.

  • Add all the leftovers starting with the shredded beef and chorizos.

  • Add the rest of the leftover vegetables starting with the potatoes and carrots, then the green beans. Add the leftover banana plantains. Add the green leafy leftover vegetables last. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with fragrant jasmine white rice.

Click here for the Beef Pochero recipe

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey, is a journalist, food writer and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She blogs about Filipino home cooking and culinary travels to the Philippines on her site

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