Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chicken Ropa Vieja

Cuban Chicken Ropa Vieja
Chicken Ropa Vieja

Ever since I have moved to New Zealand, I have been craving good Cuban and Mexican food that I completely took for granted in Florida. Because it was so readily available there, I never really made the effort to learn to cook it. However, I have managed to cook an old Cuban favorite, Ropa Vieja, a few times successfully. Literally, Ropa Vieja translates to "old clothes" and has the appearance of old tattered clothes. I cook it with chicken fillets as opposed to the more traditional flank steak. Ropa Vieja is usually served with either yellow rice or black beans and white rice. So here goes!

Prep time: 15 minutes + shredding the chicken

Cooking time: 45 minutes (approximately)

Yield: 4 servings

Cuban Chicken Ropa Vieja


1 LB Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs or breasts
2 Onions; sliced
7-8 cloves Garlic; crushed
4-5 Tomatoes; chopped or crushed
2 Green (or red/ mixed) Bell Peppers; sliced
½ cup Spanish Green Olives; sliced
½ cup Crushed Tomatoes (canned optional, subs with extra fresh crushed tomatoes)
¼ cup Red Wine (you can use white wine, the first time I made it I only had red and it tasted great!)
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
½ cup Water (if needed)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil 


  • Clean the chicken (remove the fat) and add some salt and pepper to it. Dust the chicken with flour.
  • Heat oil in a pot, and brown the chicken in low heat.
  • Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers and tomatoes and let it cook on low heat for about 30-45 minutes till the chicken is cooked and soft enough to shred.

Chicken Ropa Vieja

Remove the chicken from the sauce and add the crushed tomatoes, ground cumin, salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer for about 5-7 minutes.

Chicken Ropa Vieja

 While the sauce is simmering, using two forks lightly pull on the chicken pieces to shred them.

Shredded Chicken

Add the shredded chicken into the sauce along with ½ cup of water, chopped olives and red wine. 

Chicken Ropa Vieja

Let the stew come to a boil and let the sauce thicken to your desired consistency.

Chicken Ropa Vieja

Cuban Chicken Ropa Vieja



  1. This looks terrific. Chicken and olive dishes make a fabulous meal the night before a long run.

    1. Thanks :-) I will have to remember that. I have a 6.5 K mud run coming up next week.


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