Growing up in Florida, I had so many friends who were Cuban. I ate A LOT of Cuban food made by loving Abuelas. Foods like, Arroz con pollo, platinos, black beans and rice, and Ropa Vieja. I am so in love with Cuban food and culture. When Mario Specialty Foods asked us to help them create some memorable Olive recipes, this one popped in my head! Ropa Vieja means old clothes in Spanish and is supposed to look messy and kind of like a pile of old clothes. It’s traditionally made with beef, which is absolutely delicious. But I decided to clean it up a little and make it with chicken breast. Also, I thought I could try to take some of the mystique out of Cuban cooking by making this a slow cooker recipe. I put this in last night before I went to bed (late, but still) around 11:30 and when we woke up this morning our house was filled with a delicious aroma of tomato, peppers and yumminess! I also made a quick black beans and rice (Made with brown rice but could also be done with quinoa. I’ll post that recipe soon, I promise.)
To start, I made a tomato sauce from scratch by throwing about 25 campari tomatoes in to a stock pot with a splash of olive oil and cooking them down until they were all broken apart. Then I used my food mill to get the seed and skins out. Then I let it simmer for a couple of hours until it thickened. I added a dash of salt and then put it in an airtight container to store until it was ready for the slow cooker. For the Ropa Vieja, I literally just added all the ingredients except the olives and cilantro to the slow cooker and set it to low for 10 hours. Then I removed the chicken, shredded it and then returned it to the slow cooker along with the olives and cilantro. Serve it with a lime wedge, because a squeeze of lime juice on top of this is SO yummy. It’s just not the same without it.
I’d like to thank Mario Specialty Food for the Olives for this dish. They were simply perfect!
Local Ingredient: Hydroponically Grown Tomatoes from a Local Farm.