The weather here is finally starting to feel almost spring-like. Twice we’ve cooked dinner on the grill, and we spent a lot of time making outdoor improvements (by “we”, I mean Lane who installed a new gutter and put down grass seed while I raked out some window boxes and gave myself fiberglass splinters). I was able to take a four mile walk on two occasions without mittens or a coat. The weather makes me want to open the windows and get in some good spring cleaning. Part of spring cleaning over here involves weeding through the clothing and removing the things that don’t fit or are otherwise no longer needed. M has dresser drawers full of pants and shirts and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that she can have fifty long-sleeved t-shirts and thirty pairs of jeans and leggings, and she’ll wear about three of each with any regularity. O’s clothes make me laugh because he needs a much smaller size in the waist than he does for length so he has an abundance of pants that fit great around his middle but otherwise make him look like he’s preparing for a flood. It’s a good thing I can sew, because for some of his pants I can let down the hem, and for others I can turn them into great summer shorts.
Legend has it that one man had a much more interesting use for some of his old clothes. The legend goes that the man was expecting his family for dinner, but couldn’t afford food to feed them. He boiled some old clothes and because he put so much love into it, the boiled-t0-shreds clothing turned into a magnificent stew. I’m not sure I buy it, but I love the dish it inspired, ropa vieja. Ropa Vieja translates from Spanish as “old clothes,” which I’m sure don’t make for a tasty stew, legend or not. The stew itself though is absolutely worth making. This ropa vieja varies from the traditional stew in that it’s made with chicken and not skirt steak. It’s also mainly made in the crock pot with a little hands-on time at the end. Served over some brown rice, it’s an amazing dinner. It also makes for a delicious Chipotle inspired burrito bowl for lunch or dinner the following day when you add some rice, black beans, corn and a tiny bit of sour cream.
Crock Pot Chicken Ropa Vieja
- 22 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts)
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/4 C. dry white wine
- 1 C. tomato sauce
- 3/4 C. reserved broth from cooking the chicken
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken, quartered onion, tomato, carrot, and 2 halved cloves of garlic into a crock pot.
Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients, then cover the crock pot.
Cook on high for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken (reserve the liquid) to a bowl and shred it using two forks, then set aside.
In a large, deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the thinly sliced onion, minced garlic, and the red and green peppers. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the shredded chicken, tomato sauce, white wine, and 3/4 C. of the reserved broth.
Stir in the cumin, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, add more broth and seasoning if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
Source: slightly adapted from Skinnytaste