Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sopa de Pollo de Marcia (Chicken Soup)

For our second cooking class we learned how to make Marcia's Sopa de Pollo. Marcia is our good friend Patti's mother and she and her husband Rafael welcomed us into their home. Patti's sister-in-law and baby nephew visiting from Tallahassee were also there.

Not only did she teach us how to make her soup, but once the soup was made, we had a beautiful lunch with Marcia and Rafael where the conversation flowed about all kinds of stuff including, of course Cuba. Once again, food brought two generations together allowing for the sharing of memories and stories.

This is our teacher Marcia with her daughter, our friend Patti.

The Recipe - makes approximately 8 servings

The Ingredients:

2 lbs skinless chicken thighs (bone-in)
4 small potatoes (any type)
1 medium yellow onion
8 oz can tomato sauce

1 medium malanga (taro root)

2 carrots
11 cups of water
2 level tablespoons salt
1/2 lemon or lime

5 oz. dry angel hair pasta (preferably in rolls)

The Process
  1. Add water and salt to large pot. Set the temperature on High.

  2. Add the chicken.

  1. Add whole, peeled onion.

  2. Add peeled, rinsed and sliced carrots.

  3. Add peeled, rinsed and sliced malanga.

  1. Add tomato sauce.

  2. Add peeled, rinsed and chunked potatoes.

  3. Cover the pot and leave on high until it comes to a full boil.

  1. Lower the temperature to Medium and uncover. Squeeze the half lemon into the soup.

  2. Cook for 45 minutes.

  3. After 45 minutes, take out the chicken, remove the bones and shred the meat.

  1. Put the chicken back in, adding scrunched angel hair pasta. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.

The Plantain Option

Marcia adds medium-ripe plantain to the soup after it's cooked to avoid the soup from getting too dark because she doesn't like how it looks. Hey! She's the chef - and you don't mess with the chef! She cooks the plantains in a separate pot while the soup is cooking in the big pot.

So, if you want to add plantains - and in my opinion, you'll want to, it gives a slightly sweet flavor I love! - you'll need two medium-ripe plantains. They need to be greenish-yellow with black spots. They look like this:
  1. In a separate pot add 2 cups of water and set the temperature on High.

  2. Add 1 cube or packet of chicken bouillon. Bring the water to a boil.

  3. Cut the plantains into diagonal chunks.

  1. Peel the chunks and cut them into smaller diagonal chunks.

  2. Put the plantain chunks into the water and bring to a boil.

  1. Once the water begins to boil, lower the temperature to Medium and cook for 10 minutes.

  2. After 10 minutes, set the pot aside.

  3. Once the soup is cooked, drain the plantains and add them to the soup.
The Finished Product

Here's Marcia's Sopa de Pollo - with the Plantain Option. Good food, good conversation and good's a beautiful thing!

¡Buen provecho!