Several years ago I saw Gloria Estefan on a cooking show and she shared a recipe for ropa vieja. It was the first time I had heard of the dish and I couldn’t wait to try it. The long strands of beef looked so tender and juicy and I could just imagine the sauce soaking into a bowl of white rice. When I finally got around to trying the recipe, I decided to make it in my slow cooker and everything I imagined about ropa vieja was confirmed. It is tender, juicy, and full of smoky flavors. The sauce perfectly coats the long strands of beef and begs to be served atop fluffy rice. A bonus to making this recipe in your slow cooker is that your kitchen becomes filled with the amazing aroma while it cooks all day.
The first night I served this at home, Abby and Katie had been having a backwards day. It was inspired by the fact that I dragged the dining room table into the living room so I could set up a photo shoot near the window. They asked if we could leave it there for dinner so we did. Then they requested that we eat dinner sitting on top of the table. David and I were unsure about the physics of that idea, so we compromised and ate dinner under the table. We sat on pillows and brought a camping lantern under the table to give us more light.
Serve ropa vieja with white rice, black beans, and any of your favorite Latin-inspired toppings.