This week I was introduced to the classic Cuban Ropa Vieja by the mother of a dear friend. She used the following recipe, which called for beef. Holy cow (no pun intended), was it delicious!!
Upon returning to my kitchen, I decided to use chicken (as we had some on hand and tend to limit our red meat intake). After doctoring the recipe and the method, my version of this dish looked something like this.
- 1 package frozen chicken (Costco Chicken Breast tenderloins, weighting 1.6 lbs)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 large yellow onion
- 2 heaping TBSP of minced garlic
- 1 large handful fresh cilantro (we LOVE cilantro)
- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 6 ounce can of tomato paste
- 1 TBSP ground cumin
- Several dashes of NoSalt (salt substitute)
- 1 TBSP (loosely measured) white vinegar
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 cup water
- Remove frozen brick of chicken from the package and place in crock pot.
- Add the wet ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, tomato sauce, tomato paste, minced garlic, and water)
- Add the dry ingredients (cilantro, cumin, and salt substitute)
- Chop the green pepper (remove the seeds) and half of the onion. Add them to the crock pot. (I was running too late to brown these in a pan before I left. Whoops!)
- Place the lid onto the crock pot and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
Rob turned this off a couple of hours before I returned, because he thought it looked done.
- Shred the chicken (to the best of your ability).
- Accessorize as you see fit – we enjoyed additional cilantro, sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, and if you really want to get crazy (optional), a low carb, whole wheat wrap.
- Commence with yumming.
So, some final thoughts on the chicken version of Cuba Ropa Vieja:
- Full disclosure: this was a smidgen bland. Not sure if it needed more salt substitute, but I think the loss of the beef broth (since I used only water) really made the difference.
- This dish becomes better overnight/the next day. We felt like the flavored really settled in, and by adding some sour cream and cheese, you hardly noticed the blandness. (I bet it would be great to freeze, if you’re into that).
- All in all, a solid B- / mid-range B. We’ll definitely make it again.
What are your thoughts on Ropa Vieja? How / with what do you like to make it?