Sometimes, I really like Cuban food. Scratch the sometimes, and sub in the word always, come to think. It is salty, and savory, and oh-so-soul warming. And I was in the mood to warm my soul via my belly, and decided to do a little experimenting. Ropa vieja, you see, is usually made with beef. I, however, was craving chicken and also olives, which are fairly common ingredients in a lot of Latin cooking (note: TexMex? Not authentic. Sorry, team). Andsothen...you know what happened if you took middle school Spanish and/or live in the Americas, because this one is called Pollo Viejo.
I made this recipe early in the summer, and am revisiting it now that there is a certain chill in the air and that I want to be hovering over a stove again! It makes a lot. A lot a lot. Invite your entire village a lot. And as with most stewy bean or meat dishes, I think it tastes better on day two. I served it with some rice on the side, and will probably up the olives when I make it again. The only thing missing was a mojito or glass of sangria, but I think you can fix that one to taste, right?
Pollo Viejo (Ropa Vieja w/Chicken)
Adapted from: Quick and Dirty Kitchen
Serves a village raising a child (just one)
|Pollo Vieja (Ropa Vieja w/chicken)|
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 lbs chicken*
4 medium onions (2 diced, 2 sliced into half moons)
2 green peppers, sliced thin
8-12 cloves of garlic (4-6 whole, 4-6 minced)
2 cups broth
3 bay leaves
1 15 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp cumin
½ cup whole or halved olives
½ cup red wine
2 cups water
salt & pepper
1) In a large Dutch oven or pot, chicken in one Tbsp oil over medium-high, flipping to evenly brown.
2) Add 4-6 whole cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, 2 c broth, 2 diced onions, 1 slivered pepper, the can of whole tomatoes, and 2+ cups of water to just cover. Bring to a simmer and crack the lid, cooking roughly 25 minutes.
3) Remove chicken and set aside to cool.
4) Puree ingredients in the Dutch oven with an immersion blender or very carefully blend in a stand blender.
5) Shred chicken and stir in to add back to the pureed mixture in the pot, cooking over medium to begin to cook down the sauce a bit.
6) In a large skillet, saute halved onions and remaining pepper in 1-2 Tbsp oil.
7) Add remaining ingredients (4-6 cloves minced garlic, can of tomato sauce, cumin, oregano, red wine, olives) and cook 10 minutes.
8) Add contents of the skillet to the Dutch oven, stir to combine, and cook over medium for 15 minutes until sauce has reduced a bit and the flavors are well blended.
9) Season to taste.
|Pollo Vieja (Ropa Vieja w/Chicken)|
- Being extremely lazy, I went for boneless skinless chicken breasts for optimal ease in shredding and less mess. Using something with bone or with skin would probably up the fat and therefore flavor, but it tasted fine the lazy but probably slightly healthier way.
- If you like olives, do no fear doubling or mayyyybe even tripling this ingredient, especially if I'm coming to dinner. If you use another protein instead of chicken though (ie. beef, like you’re supposed to), probably omit them entirely.
- This makes a lot. Like...a lot a lot.
- Serve with rice, rice and beans, dirty rice, salad, peas, polenta, tostones, a pitcher of sangria per guest, etc.