Chef Louie Estrada teaches his recipe for traditional ropa vieja from his home kitchen in Brooklyn.
ropa vieja
Karen Vierbuchen’s setup during the live ropa vieja class. Photo credit: Karen Vierbuchen

🕗 Updated 3:30 PM ET, Tue November 10, 2020

(Note from El Equipo: The video above is the full recording of our live online class with Louie Estrada.)

The other night was the second best night of my life. Chef Louie Estrada taught me and close to 100 others how to make his ropa vieja recipe, live.

At the time of writing this article, the first best night of my life hasn’t happened yet. It’s gonna happen though — I’ve already made sure of it. That’s when we’re bringing Chef Louie back again. Only this time it’s to teach us all how to make his flan.

Related Post: If You Don’t Love Big Ed’s El Borikua Seasoning Do You Really Know Love?

Flan. Yes. Flan. Look out, Chef Louie Estrada. Teach me to make your flan and you’re going to get a big fat beso. Estoy emocionado. Super emocionado.

Best night of your life too, right?

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By way of background, Louie Estrada is the Chef/Owner of My Cuban Spot in Gowanus, Brooklyn. He’s quickly become regarded as one of NYC’s hottest new chefs and deserves every accolade he receives as a chef and a gentleman. He’s been seen in everything from the New York Times, Buzzfeed, NY Eater, Beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network and now of course, the crème de la crème (insert self-indulgent drumroll in my head here), Startup Cuba. And, it’s because his food —and his ventanita, which pushes back at the NYC winter with the force of a 90-degree humid Miami afternoon— is delicious and equally as important, welcoming.

“Very entertaining and so happy to learn some Cuban recipes from an expert. Please offer more!!!”

Ropa Vieja Class Participant

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Louie’s ropa vieja recipe is traditional, handed down from his abuelos. It takes time to make. Our class lasted three hours. But, from the searing of the flank steak to the smell of the flavors melding together, it truly is an experience. If you’re Cuban, Cuban-American or you simply want to learn how to make your first Cuban dish, this is the one for you. The ingredients are all easily acquired at home, your local supermarket or online. Just add Louie’s skill and a little patience and you’ll have your neighbors knocking on your door with an empty plate.

“It was fun..detailed and just a great vibe!”

Ropa Vieja Class Participant
chef louie estrada
The ropa vieja “panelists” with Chef Louie Estrada leading the way. Photo credit: Karen Vierbuchen

Chef Louie Estrada’s Ropa Vieja Recipe Shopping List

Although this ingredient list may feel intimidating, Louie breaks it down really well. Watch, or flip through, the video above for his lesson. I’ve linked to where you can buy the dry and canned ingredients on Amazon that are good quality, yet relatively reasonably priced, if you just want to have them delivered to you.

ropa vieja

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Ken Deckinger is the co-founder and CEO of Startup Cuba and the executive producer and host of its namesake docuseries. A native of South Florida, Ken has been an entrepreneur for his entire professional career. Previously he was co-founder and CEO of HurryDate, pioneering the global concept of speed dating to 45 cities throughout the US, UK and Canada. HurryDate eventually evolved into online dating and was acquired by Spark Networks, the parent company of ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com. Ken is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Florida, where he was honored with the University’s Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year Under 40 award and sits on the Board for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He actively advises entrepreneurs and is a two-time protagonist of a Harvard Business School case study. Ken’s filmmaking and journalistic journey is inspired by a love of travel and authentic connections with other cultures. He believes that the more we know about each other, through stories, the closer we can become — thus the mission of Startup Cuba: to amplify the voices of the people sharing stories in the Latinx space. After living in New York City for 15 years, he encouraged his wife to move their family to Miami to get back to his South Florida roots. Needless to say, it was a short discussion and he and his family now call Boston, where his wife grew up, their home.

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