Ropa vieja is still very much a household staple in the Canary Islands, and you can find it in marketplaces, take-out counters of grocery stores, working-class restaurants, and especially at guachinches, casual eateries in the local wineries that serve traditional food. I learned that the dish was created as a way to take advantage of the leftovers from making puchero, the islands' classic vegetable soup. Puchero was traditionally made in the morning, and by lunch, the meat used to flavor the stock would be falling into shreds. Cooks would strain it from the soup and saute it with frituar, the aromatic base made with onions, peppers, garlic, tomato paste, and seasonings that's known as sofrito in much of the Latin world. Chickpeas from the soup were added to the meat, and that hearty mixture was served atop fried potatoes.