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This rich stew from the Canary Islands was conceived of as a way to use leftovers before they went to waste. Ropa Vieja begins with a sofrito that is layered with tender shredded meats, chickpeas and potatoes and slowly cooked in a bath of white wine, garlic, pimentón, thyme and laurel. With a name that translates to “old clothes” this dish may not sound particularly appetizing, but it’s so delicious that it’s been adopted far away from it’s home in the Canaries. Other places to enjoy Ropa Vieja include Cuba, thanks to its popularity and past trade routes, as well as the mainland of Spain, particularly around Cadiz and Andalucia. If you come across it, don’t pass on an opportunity to experience what we think is the highlight of traditional Canarian gastronomy.
Where to find Ropa Vieja
Madrid: Canarian cuisine is hard to come by off the islands, but 7 Delicatessen at the Mercado San Anton is making it a little easier in Spain’s capital city. Try their papas arrugadas along with other Canarian specialties.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife: La Hierbita on the island of Tenerife is an old restaurant full of local history.