Ropa Vieja is one of those dishes that really makes you wonder how it got it’s name. In Spanish it literally means old clothes, and why anyone thought that would be an appetizing name to give to their dinner is beyond me.
The dish first came on my radar when a coworker asked if I knew how to make it. I had never heard of it before, so I started looking around for a recipe and ending up finding an entire cookbook full of Cuban recipes. Cuba! Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen is full of tons of really delicious looking Cuban dishes I can’t wait to try. But, at the insistence of my coworker, I made ropa vieja first.
Ropa vieja is a very easy dish to make. Although there is some initial prep-work and a little hands-on cooking, it is mostly a set-it-and-forget-it dish. I was even able to easily adjust this recipe for the crockpot. Traditionally it is eaten with rice and beans, but it is also delicious in tacos or with potatoes. Cuba! recommended eating it in sliders with pickled onions on the side.
Besides being filled with amazing looking recipes, Cuba! also had lots of information about Cuban history and culture, including excerpts from interviews with locals. Especially in light of the recent political events with Cuba, I found it fascinating to read more details about what life has been like there in the last 50 years. After reading through the whole cookbook, Cuba is much higher on my travel bucket list! But, until I can make that happen I guess I’ll just have to content myself with making the fried plantains, congri, and Mojito cake from this cookbook.
I received a free copy of this cookbook from the publisher. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for reading!