The old Canarian clothes, also known as carne mechada, carne enmenuada or carne desmechada is a typical dish of the archipelago, from where it is believed that it was exported to Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile and, especially, Cuba, where it is also one of the most representative dishes of its gastronomy.
Although the recipe for old clothes has a not very suggestive name (a current marketing expert would never have named a dish like that), it tastes excellent and has many nutritional properties.
History of old clothes
The old Canarian clothes have quite dark origins that are often confused with the legend.
One theory is that its origin is Sephardic, since a similar dish was called "handrajos" (i.e. "andrajos") by that people. Andrajos and old clothes are words that come to say the same thing, so it is possible that this is the origin.
As the recipe for old Canarian clothes is based on the reuse of leftovers from other dishes, there is another theory that states that the origin of the name comes from the Diccionario de Covarrubias of 1611, and later dictionaries, in which the term "ropavejería" (clothing) was related to shops that sold used clothes and dresses.
The simile is clear, since the recipe of old Canarian clothes is the new stew of some leftovers to elaborate a new dish.
Finally, there is a popular legend in Cuba about the origin of this dish: a long time ago, a very poor man who had no way of feeding his family gathered all the old clothes he had, sold them and with the money he was given bought enough meat to feed his whole family. Hence the name "old clothes".
Legends aside, most gastronomic historians believe that the recipe came from the Canary Islands, and that its consumption spread from the archipelago to many countries around the world.
Let's move on to how to make old clothes.
Elaboration of old Canarian clothes
There are many ways to make old clothes. As the saying goes, "every little teacher has his own little book". What those who prepare this Canarian recipe do agree on is that it is a caloric, tasty and nutritious dish.
With the meat we have left over when we make a stew or a broth we can make a lot of new dishes, without having to throw the food away, which, as the grandparents used to say, "is a sin".
Croquettes, empanadillas, scrambled eggs, burritos, tacos or cannelloni are some of the most popular recipes for reusing meat. But in the Canary Islands they have no doubt about it: the best thing to do is to prepare a good dish of old clothes.
What ingredients are in old Canarian clothes
To prepare this recipe for old Canarian clothes you will need the following ingredients:
- -Chicken and meat remains from some stew, pot or broth.
- -250 grams of cooked chickpeas (if you don't want to prepare them yourself, you can use them in a jar)
- -An onion.
- -Garlic: 2 or 3 cloves.
- -Tomatoes: 2 or 3 special pieces for frying or 200 grams of crushed tomatoes from a jar.
- -A couple of laurel leaves.
- -Dried thyme, oregano and sweet paprika: one teaspoon each of the spices.
- -Black pepper: 10 grains.
- -Virgin olive oil.
- -Half a glass of stew broth for the meat and chicken.
- -Get out.
- -Half a glass of white wine: this ingredient is optional, but can make the dish more enjoyable.
- -French fries (also optional)
How to prepare
The preparation time for this recipe of old Canarian clothes is approximately half an hour. In order to get it right you have to follow the following steps:
- 1. Shred the meat and chicken well and set aside.
- 2. Peel the onion and garlic cloves and cut them into small pieces. Fry them in a cauldron or a deep frying pan with a splash of olive oil. When everything is golden brown, add the pepper cut into julienne strips and fry.
- 3. Add the tomato and let it cook until the sofrito is consistent.
- 4. Add the paprika and sauté for one minute. Add the meat and chicken and sauté for another minute. Then add the chickpeas, peppercorns, oregano, thyme and bay leaf.
- 5. Season with some salt and add some broth (you can also add the white wine). Cover and let everything boil for about 5 minutes. And you have your succulent plate of old clothes.
- 6. When serving the dish, you can accompany it with a potato cut into small cubes or add a little parsley.
Old Canarian clothes come in handy when it's cool, when you need to eat a hearty meal to take the edge off your hunger, or when you simply want to take advantage of the meat and chicken from another dish, which is not the time to throw away the food.
Photos: slicing.com, angelcanarias.wordpress.com, cookingrecipesdepostres.net, miarevista.es