Ropa vieja, a flavorful shredded beef dish usually served with rice, plantains, and beans, has many, many variations. Some recipes have been passed down through generations and we all think our grandmother's recipe is best, of course. A hearty meal that makes delicious leftovers (sandwiches piled high on toasty rolls, it's wonderful over arepas, rice or tostadas), the dish is a great way to feed a crowd and prep for busy weeks ahead.
I recently made ropa vieja and served it over steaming white rice with ripe plantains on the side. I froze the leftover ropa vieja, which was a lifesaver a few days later when I was craving empanadas but too tired to make a filling. So the idea to make ropa vieja empanadas was born. Imagine all that beef goodness stuffed inside a crispy dough!
So today I'm combining two of my favorite Latin dishes, empanadas and ropa vieja. If I could eat these every day, I'd be a happy girl. Sometimes I have what I think is a great idea for a recipe and it turns out horrible, other times the recipes turn out as expected, and then there are the days when the dishes turn out even better than I could have imagined. That's exactly what happened with these empanadas!
While this is not really a weeknight recipe, you can certainly make a batch, bake a couple, and then freeze the rest for easy appetizers later. Buen provecho!