Ropa vieja: the perfect recipe so that nothing goes to waste 

Ropa vieja is an ideal recipe for taking advantage of leftovers from dishes such as cocido, stews and soups. Prepare yours and give it the personal touch. Let's go!

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Cooking with leftovers is on the rise, and quite right too: we are becoming more and more careful with what we consume and we do not want to waste anything, not even a scrap. Ropa vieja provides us with the perfect recipe for putting this into practice. How? Read on to find out more.


Ropa vieja is a meal that basically consists of using the remains of a traditional Spanish cocido or any other type of stew or casserole, to give them a second lease of life. Just like when we use the leftovers from a cocido to make croquettes, for example. In this case, to make ropa vieja we need the meat of the cocido (shredded), as well as the vegetables and chickpeas. Ropa vieja is a common recipe in Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha and the Canary Islands, where it is frequently prepared, although of course it is possible to make them anywhere in the country. 


Ingredients for ropa vieja

The ingredients for ropa vieja are as follows:

  • 1 onion
  • leftovers from the cocido (chickpeas, meats, vegetables)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves

Preparing the ropa vieja

Ropa vieja made using cocido simply requires the leftovers of this popular dish, which we will take as our starting point. The first thing we need to do is to chop the remains of the meat and vegetables (potato, carrot, cabbage...) so the pieces are the same size or smaller than the chickpeas themselves. 



Then, we finely chop an onion and put it in a pan. Saut├ę gently until it is well browned and put to one side. Next, chop the garlic cloves (also very fine) and add them with two tablespoons of oil to the pan. Leave to brown on very low heat, and when it is golden, remove the pan from the heat and add a spoonful of paprika, stirring so that it mixes well with the oil. 


Now for the protagonists of dish: the finely shredded or chopped meat and vegetables, and the chickpeas. Add to the pan, mix well and leave to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring well so that the sofrito (garlic, onion and paprika) permeates throughout all the other ingredients. 


The final touch will depend on who is cooking. Ropa vieja is an easy recipe that can be cooked until drier or served with additional broth (it will be necessary to add more to taste): as each individual chef prefers. Ropa vieja is generally eaten as a complete meal, as it is certainly filling, but some aficionados cannot resist accompanying the dish with a simple salad. Enjoy eating your ropa vieja!