Ropa Vieja

  • 5 pounds bone-in goat or lamb shoulder roast, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal), plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced white onions (from 2 medium onions)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced red bell peppers(from 2 large bell peppers)
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 5 medium-size (about 1 pound total) Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped chipotle pepper (from 1 [7 1/2-ounce] can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

Additional Ingredients

  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 10 (1-inch-thick) slices focaccia bread
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Remove meat from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Pat dry using paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat oil in a large roasting pan over medium-high; sear meat, rotating and flipping occasionally, until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side.

  3. Transfer meat to a cutting board or baking sheet, and reduce heat to medium. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic to roasting pan; cook, stirring often to remove any browned bits from bottom of pan, until lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.

  4. Stir tomato paste, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper, and oregano into roasting pan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add wine to roasting pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Simmer over medium until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, and bring to a boil over medium; turn off heat. Add meat to pan.

  6. Preheat oven to 250°F. Cover pan with parchment paper, and tightly cover with aluminum foil; Bake in preheated oven until roast shreds apart easily, 3 hours, 30 minutes to 4 hours. Uncover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  7. Carefully transfer meat to a clean cutting board; skim off any excess fat from sauce in pan. Place pan on cooktop over medium-high, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. While sauce simmers, remove meat from bones, and pull into small pieces; discard bones.

  8. Return meat to pan, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in vinegar.

  9. Stir together goat cheese and heavy cream in a medium bowl until smooth. Brush focaccia slices with oil, and toast in a large dry skillet over medium until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve Ropa Vieja in a shallow bowl with a dollop of goat cheese mixture and a focaccia slice. Top with cilantro and serve.

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