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Ropa Vieja de Pollo Canaria – Canary Island Style Shredded Chicken and Chickpeas

April 15, 2015

The Cuban version of this dish, made with slow-cooked beef flank, is much more famous, however Canary island style Ropa Vieja is equally delicious.The flavours are smooth and subtle producing a delicious and hearty meal that really is worth giving a go. The recipe I am translating is from Lo Mejor De La Comida Canaria (Felisa Vera & Remedios Sosa),  the original mixes beef or pork with chicken but I have adapted it a little to make a chicken only recipe, for two reasons: 1. because that is what in had in the pantry, and 2. because in the restaurant menus I saw in the Canary Islands Beef and Chicken versions were offered but not mixed.

A few notes for the recipe, make sure you keep the extra stock from cooking the chicken. I often use chicken stock as the base liquid for cooking rice, but otherwise you can use it for soups and stews. While I used Rice the original recipe called for frying Potato cubes and mixing them in just before serving, either option or using other side dishes is fine, just choose something starchy that will absorb the delicious flavours of the juices!

– Recipe –


500g Chickpeas // 1kg Chicken (use a small whole bird in large cuts or thighs) // 1 small glass of White Wine // 2 Tomatoes // 1 Onion // 1 Bell Pepper // 3 Garlic Cloves // Thyme // Bay // Saffron // Parsley // Paprika

  1. Put the Chickpeas to soak (unless using canned in which case add them to the stock at the end of stage 3)
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the Chickpeas with the meat cut into large chunks and a big sprinkle of Salt.
  3. When the meat has softened (45 minutes + depending on the size/type), reserve the stock for later use, chop and shred the meat into strips.
  4. Finely chop the Onion and Tomato, and chop the Bell Pepper into small cubes. Grind the Garlic to a paste and mix it in, add a liberal amount of Black Pepper, a teaspoon of Paprika, a pinch of Saffron and Salt.
  5. Fry this mix with a little Oil, when it is almost all cooked through add the glass of Wine, a handful of chopped Parsley, a teaspoon of fresh Thyme leaves, a Bay Leaf and the Meat/Chickpea mix.
  6. Simmer the mix for a few more minutes, season if needed, and then serve hot.



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