A few years back I was at a conference in Miami with a friend and colleague, and we ended up going on a Cuban food eating “tour.” It started with a dive near the beach and I ordered the Ropa Vieja. And it ended with Cubano sandwiches, at a walk up food bar. We had a few other meals in between, but these two were my faves!
And I knew that I needed to recreate the Ropa Vieja at home. The key in a ropa vieja is the powerful flavors, but also that the meat is super soft and shreddy. “Ropa vieja” translates as old clothes. But what it’s implying is “raggedy old clothes” that are falling apart and barely hanging together. And when you call food “old clothes,” you are meaning that the meat is just falling apart in the sauce.
Now that we have that explained, let’s get to the recipes. First…
Instant Pot Chicken Ropa Vieja
- 12 boneless chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 small white onion
- 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1/2 cup green olives
- Rice and salad, as side dish options
- Seed and slice the bell peppers. Slice the onion.
- Place the chicken thighs into the base of the Instant Pot and season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced bell peppers and onions, crushed tomatoes, vinegar, cumin and green olives. Add in 1 cup warm water.
- Steam valve: Sealing.
- Cook on: Manual/High for 18 minutes. See note below if cooking from frozen.
- Release: 10-minute Natural or Natural release.
- Cook the rice, as directed. (This sticky rice would be delicious!)
- Once chicken is cooked, shred with 2 forks into the sauce.
- Prepare the salad.
- Serve Instant Pot Chicken Ropa Vieja over rice with salad.