A few years ago I went to a cooking class. I was making a dish with chicken and thought things were going well and then the chef walked by and said that I had ruined the dish and it looked like Ropas Viejas. While I was disappointed I did not know why because I did not know what Ropas Viejas was. Ropas Viejas is a Cuban dish with a long history traditionally made with beef and tomatoes, and served with beans and rice. When the dish is done everything looks shredded like old clothes. For my dish I put the beans in it, but if you have a good Cuban bean recipe you can serve yours on the side. And if anyone says this dish looks like Ropas Viejas I can say thank you.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a knife and cutting board, a heat proof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, a soup pot with a lid, a sauce pan with a lid, and the stove.
If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself, you can ask an adult for help.
If you do not like any of the ingredients that I have chosen for my Ropas Viejas, you can substitute one of your favorites.
ChefElla’s Ropas Viejas (6 - 8 servings)
16-20 oz. Chicken Breast (you can also use chicken thighs, pork shoulder, or beef flank or roast)
1 ea. Red Onion, Julienne (about 1 - 8 oz. onion)
-Cut off the root and stem ends of the onion. Remove any bad parts or dried skin. Cut the onion into two half-moons. Lay the onion on the cutting board with the flat side down and one of the cut ends facing you. Slice through the onion following the lines on the skin. The cut onion slices will break into strips.
1 ea. Red Pepper, Cut into Strips (1 medium to large pepper)
1 ea. Green Pepper, Cut into Strips (1 medium to large pepper)
1 Can Red Enchilada Sauce, Mild (10 oz.)
1 Can Tomatoes, Petit Diced (14.5 oz.)
1 Can Black Beans, Drained, Rinsed (15 oz.)
1 Cup Chicken Broth
2 Tbl. Green Olives with Pimentos, Minced (about 10-12 small green olives)
1 ½ tsp Cumin, Ground
2 tsp Garlic, Minced or ½ tsp dried
1 tsp Oregano, Dried Leaves
½ tsp Salt, Kosher or Sea
1 Tbl. Olive or Vegetable Oil
2 pkg. Yellow Spanish Rice (9 oz.)
Optional: Queso Fresco or Cotija Cheese 10 oz.
3. Prepare your onions, peppers, olives, and garlic. Open your tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and black beans.
4. Place your soup pot on the stove on medium high heat and add your oil to the pot. Add the onions and peppers and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, enchilada sauce, black beans, olives, garlic, salt, cumin, oregano, and chicken broth to the pot and mix well.
5. When the ingredients begin to simmer, add the whole chicken breasts to the pot and push them to the bottom of the pot. Turn the pot to medium low heat and cover for 1 hour.
6. After 1 hour remove the chicken breasts from the pot and let them sit on your cutting board for 10 minutes.
7. Prepare the yellow rice following the directions on the package.
8. Using your hands or two forks shred the chicken breasts. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup pot and mix well. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
9. Shred or crumble your queso fresco or cotija cheese.
Serve your Ropas Viejas over your yellow rice and top with your cheese.
ChefElla’s helpers can help by:
Measuring out the ingredients
Adding the ingredients to the pot
Older helpers can help by:
Helping to prepare the ingredients
Cooking the ingredients with some guidance