Ropa Vieja Soup (Sopa de Res)


Delicious Ropa Vieja Soup Recipe: Flavorful Sopa de Res

Looking for a hearty and comforting meal that will leave you satisfied? Look no further than Ropa Vieja Soup, also known as Sopa de Res. This classic Cuban soup (sopa) is the epitome of comfort food, with tender shredded beef, rich tomato-based broth, and an array of flavorful spices. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or simply in need of a cozy pick-me-up, this soup hits all the right notes.

Making Ropa Vieja Soup is easier than you might think. With just a handful of ingredients and some simple steps, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that will have your taste buds thanking you. From browning the beef to simmering it in the aromatic broth, every step of the cooking process adds layers of flavor and depth.

So, if you’re ready to indulge in the perfect comfort food, grab your apron and get ready to make a big pot of Ropa Vieja Soup.

The History and Origins of Ropa Vieja

So legend has it that a poor penniless man couldn’t afford to feed his family. It’s said that he shredded and cooked his old clothes in a pot over a fire and prayed for a miracle. As he prayed the pot bubbled and slowly turned his clothes into a delicious meat stew. Don’t worry we’re not going to be getting out our old clothes but we are going to be using a delicious piece of flank steak to make shredded beef for this recipe. 

The flank steak along with some simple ingredients will create a broth that is so rich and flavorful that it would be a sin not to use it. So, every single time I make Ropa Vieja nothing is wasted and with fall and winter right here this soup is sure to become one of your  favorite comfort foods.

An optional ingredient that I add to the soup is malanga (my husbands favorite). Malanga is a root vegetable that is similar to a potato. It can be found in most latin supermarkets.

As a side note, when my boys were little soup was made every couple of days with either chicken or beef. I would use a variety of different vegetables and then blend the soup to make baby food. The nutrients in this soup cannot compare to any store bought baby food.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make Ropa Vieja Soup (Sopa de Res)

  1. Start by heating a large dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat and adding a drizzle of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the flank steak that has been seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper and brown it on all sides. This step is crucial as it helps develop the rich flavors of the soup.
  2. Add beef broth and a bell pepper that has been seeded and the stem removed.
  3. Cover and cook in the oven at 325 degrees for 2.5 to 3 hours. When the flank steak is done let it rest and cool in the broth for about 30 minutes so it stays moist and tender. Remove and discard cooked bell pepper.
  4. Strain the broth with a wire mesh strainer into a stock pot. Dice an onion and smash or grate garlic cloves. Sautee over medium high heat until translucent and add to the broth.
  5. Add pureed cherry tomatoes to the broth and continue to cook on medium heat.
  6. Add cut up vegetables and seasoning and continue to cook until they are fork tender.
  7. Add fideo and cilantro and cook until fideo is done.

Variations and Additions to Enhance the Flavor of Ropa Vieja Soup

While the classic Ropa Vieja Soup is delicious on its own, you can also add some additional ingredients to customize the flavor to your liking. Here are a few ideas:

-Use malanga instead of potatoes or a combination of both.

-Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the soup before serving to brighten the flavors.

-Garnish with avocado.

Health Benefits of Ropa Vieja Soup (Sopa de Res)

Ropa Vieja Soup not only satisfies your taste buds but also provides several health benefits. The beef used in the soup is a great source of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. The combination of vegetables and spices in the soup provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and well-being.

Additionally, the slow simmering process allows the flavors to meld together and intensify, creating a rich and flavorful broth without the need for excessive salt or unhealthy additives. This soup is a wholesome and nourishing option that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

Serving Suggestions for Ropa Vieja Soup (Sopa de Res)

Ropa Vieja Soup (Sopa de Res) is delicious on its own, but you can enhance the meal by serving it with some traditional accompaniments. Here are a few suggestions:

-Serve the soup with a side crusty bread to soak up the flavorful broth.

-Garnish the soup with fresh cilantro, avocado, chopped green onions, or a squeeze of lime juice for a burst of freshness.

-Pair the soup with a refreshing side salad or a plate of fried plantains for a complete and satisfying meal.

-White rice topped with the finished Ropa Vieja.

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Difficulty: Easy Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 180 mins Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 6



  1. I start with heating a Dutch oven on medium high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and sear the flank steak on both sides. Add 2 boxes (64 ounces) of beef broth and a whole seeded green bell pepper. Let the meat braise int he pot in a 325 degree oven for 2.5-3 hours. If you don't have a Dutch oven or are short on time a pressure cooker or a power cooker can be used too. Either one would cut the cooking time down to about 25-30 minutes. Also if you don't have any beef broth plain water can be used too. However, I prefer to get the added depth of flavor from using beef broth. After the steak is done braising in the oven remove and discard the bell pepper and let the flank steak coon in the broth. I have found that if I take it out too early the steak will dry out. So after the steak is cooled in the broth remove it and prepare it for Ropa Vieja.

  2. Strain the broth with a wire mesh strainer into a stock pot. Dice an onion and smash or grate garlic cloves. Sautee over medium high heat until translucent and add to the broth.
  3. Add pureed cherry tomatoes to broth and continue to cook on medium heat.
  4. Next peel potatoes and malanga and cut into 3 or 4 chunks and add to broth. Peel carrots in cut into 1 inch bite sized pieces and add to broth. Add mini corns to broth. Now we will season the broth. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of cumin, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon of bijol. If you don't have bijol a couple drops of yellow food color can be substituted. Cover and continue to cook on medium heat until vegetables are fork tender.

  5. Last we are going to add about 1/2 a bag of fideo which comes in a 7oz bag and the cilantro. Continue to cook until fideo is soft about 10 more minutes. Serve with a chunk of crusty French bread. Garnish with the juice from half of a lime and avocado. Sometimes I love to put some of the ropa vieja in my bowl of soup!

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