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!


purplepassion said...

It was SOOOOooo GOOD! We also talked about that some people add 'calabaza'. She said that it would be added at the beginning with all the other ingredients to boil for the hour. Calabaza means pumpkin but we know this isn't Charlie Brown's pumpkin it's anouther gourd. We have to figure out which one. This may require a field trip to our local Spanich grocer. We'll let you know as soon as we figure it out.
I brought some for lunch today! YUM!

Anonymous said...

It's "Calabaza Castilla" or the type of squashes you get at the Hispanic market that has a green mixed with other colored shell, or another that has a beige colored outside. They usually sell these in large chunks wrapped in plastic wrap

For people that cant get it they can EASILY substitute it for "Butternut Squash" or "Kobucha Squash"

Hope that helped.

Hilda said...

Thank you Anon, it does help!

Karoda said...

if you were to add spices to this, which ones would you try?

Hilda said...

Karoda - Honestly I wouldn't add additional spices to this soup - to me it's a traditional "comfort food" soup.

Frances "Miami Mama" said...

This soup is THE BOMB. Marcia, eres una barbara! I followed the recipe to the letter (including using the plantains), and it is perfect. It tastes even better than the cuban-style chicken soups I so love from beloved places in Miami like Sergio's and Three Palms (Biscayne and 115). Thank you so much for this. I just discovered this blog today and plan on making the croquetas and the vaca frita next. I'll keep you posted!

Anonymous said...

Hi just found this blog while searching for croquetta recipes don’t see anything posted after summer 2011 hope you are still doing this, it is awesome from what I read so far. Did see the Cuban chicken soup recipe and someone had asked about adding spices. I understand not changing tradition, but remember Cuban traditional is only as far as your casa door. In my casa we added culantro (careful not cilantro), cumin, garlic and a bay leaf to flavor it up: try it, it’s awesome. Like my dad says. "Esta sopa levanta un muerto," this soup could raise the dead.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I caught a cold yesterday and live in CO where I couldn't find malanga. I did find Kobucha Squash and added a little sazon and I feel like I'm back in Miami at Abuela's house! Just what we needed--Delicious! THANK YOU!

KeyWestConch8 said...

Oh my, I was looking for something else and found this site. I joined only so I can comment.. and compliment. i'm origanlally from KW, Fla and a Cuban family raised me from birth just because when I was born my mother lived in their house. I am not Cuban by decent just by birh and is my first lanuage( thank God). My compliment is I love your family photos. Reminds me of mi tia, primas, y abuela. Most have passed so your pics have brought back a flood of very good and happy memeories. Thank you!!

Hollywood, Fl Cubanchick said...

Someone said not to use cilantro, but cilantro is a wonderful herb (so is culantro which has a similar smell and flavor). I've been Cuban cooking since I was 13 (a long time). I agree to adding some herbs and seasonings too: 1/2 tsp cumin, a bay leaf, even a few shakes of crushed oregano leaves would be fantastic at the beginning. Towards the end of the cooking time, when you add the platanos, add 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh minced cilantro and let it just simmer another few minutes before serving. Wow! Pure ecstasy. Simplicity is a beautiful thing, but flavor is what we Cubans are all about. As far as adding calabaza, a MUST in chicken soup and white beans for instance, look for cut calabaza that is a very deep orange pulp color. If it's light in color (like the color peach), don't waste your money on it. A pot of soup only needs a cup of cut up calabaza to intensify the color. Add it at the beginning.

Anonymous said...

I never eat anyone's chicken soup except my mom's. But I must say this soup was delicious. I made it for my hubby because he wasn't feeling well. It's the first time I make chicken soup since we've been marrie and the recipe was very easy to follow! Thank you for the post!!

Ana Maria Ash said...

I believe my Abuela and Momma would make this sopa and the next day make arroz con pollo.
I would love to see these ladies make arroz con pollo!
Your blog brings so many wonderful memories!
Thank you!