Chef Jean Paul Labadie shows you the road to great ropa vieja

Now that Jean Paul Labadie is cooking at Todd English P.U.B., we might see more Latin touches on the menu, such as his classic ropa vieja.
Photo: Adam Shane

French-sounding name notwithstanding, Todd English P.U.B. executive chef Jean Paul Labadie—who previously helmed Marché Bacchus and Garfield’s off the Strip—is actually a native Puerto Rican who grew up eating classic ropa vieja. Spanish for “old clothes,” due to its shredded consistency, the soon-to-be menu addition at the Crystals restaurant remains his favorite recipe. Make some yourself and find out why.

Ropa Vieja

The Details

Crystals, 489-8080.
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-midnight.

(serves 6-8)


5 lbs. flank steak

2 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. paprika

1½ tbsp. oregano

1½ tbsp. cumin

1½ tbsp. thyme

1 tbsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. onion powder

½ tbsp. cayenne pepper

2 cups chopped onions

¾ cup chopped carrots

¾ cup chopped celery

3 chopped garlic cloves

3 tbsp. tomato paste

1 cup diced onions

1 cup diced chilies

2 tbsp. diced garlic

1 cup chopped olives

Method: Combine salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper and 1 tbsp. each of oregano, cumin and thyme into seasoning mixture. Cut steak into 4-inch pieces and toss with seasoning. Sear on both sides and remove from the pan. Add mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery to pan and brown. Stir in garlic, tomato paste and remaining oregano, cumin and thyme and cook for 5-10 minutes at medium heat. Add meat back to pan with any released liquid. Add enough water to cover meat and simmer for 3 hours or until fork tender. Remove meat from pan. Strain braising liquid while pressing on mirepoix, and save. Shred steak with a fork. Sauté diced onions, chilies and garlic for 4-5 minutes. Add shredded meat to pan with enough braising liquid to cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Add chopped olives and check for seasoning.

Tags: Dining
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