Chicken Ropa Vieja
This Cuban inspired dish is made with shredded chicken breast cooked in the slow cooker, then sauteed with bell peppers, onions, cumin and lots of Latin flavor! If you have leftover rotisserie chicken, you can use that instead and skip the slow cooker!
Cuban cuisine is a favorite of mine and Ropa Vieja, which translates as “old clothes” is a dish I love. It’s traditionally made with shredded skirt steak, and served over white rice and fried plantains.
I created this lighter version a few years ago using lean chicken breast instead, sometimes I even use boneless skinless thighs or a combination of both. You can serve this over rice, with baked tostones (plantain chips) and a salad, in a burrito bowl with Cilantro lime rice, Southwestern black bean salad, lettuce and shredded cheese or over cauliflower rice if you want to keep it low-carb or Whole30.
And since so many are asking, although I have and love my Instant Pot, I still love my slow cooker! I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (affil link). I love it because you can adjust the time you want it to cook, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This slow cooker is so great, I actually own several!
Chicken Ropa Vieja
For the Slow Cooker:
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, or boneless thighs (24 oz total)
- 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 tomato, quartered
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, divided
- 3 bay leaves
- kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced long
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine, or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp Spanish green olives, optional
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Place chicken, bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots, and half of garlic into the slow cooker. Add just enough chicken broth to cover the chicken and vegetables and add the bay leaves. Cook high for 4 hours, or low 6 to 8 hours, until the chicken is tender.
- When done, remove chicken and shred with two forks; set aside. Discard vegetables and reserve the broth for later.
- In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic, sliced onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.
- Stir in the tomato paste and wine, let it cook 2 to 3 minutes then add the cooked chicken, tomato sauce, and about 3/4 cup of the reserved broth to create a sauce. Season with cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Cover and simmer on low for about 8 to 10 minutes, adding more broth and seasoning if needed. Makes 4 cups.