November 10th 1821, marks a popular uprising against the Spanish colonial government in Panama, The First Cry of Independence in the Villa de Los Santos, which led to the proclamation of the independence of Panama from Spain on November 28 of that year.

According to popular tradition, this event was led by Rufina Alfaro, character surrounded by mystery and mysticism, whom represents the spirit of rebellion and liberty that illuminated the revolutionary movement.

To commemorate this day I bring you a recipe very typical of Panama, Old clothes (ropa vieja). I call it Vintage because is much more fashionable 😉


 1 kg of beef (preferably skirt)
1 onion chopped into strips
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon of cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red pepper chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, chopped
6 sprigs of cilantro
½ teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of cayenne pepper, optional


Cook the meat in boiling water with salt, some sprigs of cilantro, pepper and a clove of garlic for an hour and a half, remove from heat and let cool. Reserve a cup of cooking water.

Shred the meat with your hands and reserve.

In a pan put the oil to heat, sauté onions, peppers and garlic. When that is a bit poached, add the tomatoes and continue sautéing for a couple of minutes.

Now add the meat, tomato sauce, chopped cilantro (reserve some for garnish) and the cooking water. Seasoned with cumin, black pepper, Worcestershire and soy sauce, paprika and salt, if needed.

Allow the sauce to reduce over medium heat for about 20 minutes.

This meat can be served with white rice o fries.


27 Replies to “Vintage”

  1. Sounds as delicious as it looks…Old Cloths sort of fits it appropriately,..definitely comfort food. Reminds me of the Old ZZ Top song…has any body seen my old blue jeans…
    Bless You

    1. Hi Roger!
      Yes, probably there is. Panama is a big mixture of cultures, specially French, Caribbean and Spanish. So it is very easy to find similarities.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Have a nice weekend!

  2. So delicious…. I make something like that but cilantro, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, should be a tasteful addition. Thank you dear Giovanna, with my love, nia

    1. Hi Nia!
      Actually I couldn’t find two identical recipes for this dish, so I followed my mom’s and then added some Giovanna’s touch. Cilantro and the sauces were some of them, because I remember that my mom use them all the time 🙂
      Have a nice weekend!

  3. I love that you called your post “vintage”, but I’ve always loved that Ropa Vieja translates to “old clothes”… I’ve never tried a recipe for this but always love to order it when I’m in a Spanish restaurant; you can’t beat the flavors! Thanks! I’m adding it to my list of your recipes to try–which is growing by the day!! 🙂

    have a great weekend~

    1. Hi Melissa!
      Thanks for your comment 🙂
      I’ve learned that the Ropa Vieja in Spain is another dish, made with the meat from the Cocido or puchero. I think with less sauce, but I bet is good too. Which one have you tried before?

      Me alegro mucho de que te gustara 🙂

      1. Hi Giovanna!

        I didn’t realize they’re different dishes. I believe I’ve only had the Spanish version–with less sauce.

        Pero esta vez parece y suena delicioso! 😉

  4. What glorious flavors! I love how you incorporate history in with your recipes! I’m not sure which I would put first – my love of history or my love of cooking! Good thing I don’t have to choose! I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for a lovely recipe!

    1. Hello Phyllis!
      I’m happy you’ve liked this recipe. Yes, I like to incorporate some history, especially with the recipes from Panama; is a way to promote it 😉
      Have a nice day and thanks again.

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