Today I am putting a healthy twist on a Latin classic with a lighter variation of Ropa Vieja. Traditionally, Ropa Vieja or Carne Desmechada is made with beef, but I made this recipe with chicken and come to find out, it's just as tasty as the traditional version. Served over rice with tajadas de maduro, it's an excellent dish that the whole family will love.
Chicken Ropa Vieja
- To cook the chicken
- 4 chicken breasts with bone
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 green pepper cut into pieces
- 1 carrot peeled and cut into pieces
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 large red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- ¼ cup of tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup capers
- In a pot, place the chicken, 1 onion, carrot, green pepper, and 4 cloves of garlic. Add water to cover the chicken, add salt, pepper and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
- Measure and strain 1 cup of the liquid used to cook the chicken and set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, let it cool and shred with a fork or your hands.
- In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic, onions and red pepper. Cook about 5 to 7 minutes, or until tender. Add the cooked and shredded chicken, tomato sauce, tomato paste, reserved broth, capers, salt, pepper and cumin. Cover and cook on low for about 10 minutes, adding more broth and seasoning if needed, stirring occasionally.
Another advantage to the Chicken Ropa Vieja versus its beef counterpart is in preparation time. You can have dinner ready in less that an hour with the chicken variation, whereas beef ropa vieja typically requires more time.
As much as I love cooking, sometimes it’s just about getting dinner on the table as simply and quickly as possible. Well, most of the time lately! When you have kids, dinner time is definitely one the most hectic times of the day, along with the 15 minutes just before going to school in the morning! This Chicken Ropa Vieja or Pollo Desmechado is an easy dish to make and it's delicious.
If you’re feeling super healthy, throw it over some spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. But if you’re craving a hearty dish to warm up on a cold winter day, serve it over white rice with ripe plantains and avocado on the side, like I did. I ate the leftovers for lunch with arepa for three days straight and I loved every single bite.