Tag Archives: Chicken Stock

Cuban Chicken Soup with Plantain Dumplings


Recipe adapted from the cookbook
Cuba! Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen
by Dan Goldberg, Andrea Kuhn and Jody Eddy

The winter doldrums continue and there is nothing more perfect than a comforting bowl of chicken soup to warm your soul.

But wait!

This is not your grandmother’s chicken soup and dumpling recipe, unless you’re fortunate enough to have a Cuban grandmother. With its long simmering time and the addition of calabaza, a tiny orange-and-white squash, this is a wonderful way to warm up on a chilly day. The additional of Bijol, a traditional Cuban blend of ground achiote, cumin and corn flour, infuses the soup with a pleasant yellow color, but if you don’t have a Latin specialty market in the neighborhood, a pinch of turmeric makes a good substitute. The plantain dumplings are a lovely combination of sweet and savory, but they do not hold well. If you have leftover soup, the dumplings will completely disintegrate overnight. If you are not planning to eat all the soup in one dinner serving, add only enough dumplings to suit your hunger pangs, then freeze the soup without dumplings and whip them up whenever you are ready to dive into the leftovers.

And like every recipe, this soup has many variations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. In Ecuador it is known as Caldo de Bolas and in Columbia, it is called  Sopa de Pollo y Platano Verde. Where as in Puerto Rico it takes on the name  Sopa De Pollo con Mofongo which is considered the Puerto Rican version of Matzah Ball Soup. Imagine that!

Serves 6 to 8

For the Soup:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups calabaza squash, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Bijol (optional)*
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the plantain dumplings:
2 ripe plantains, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup rice flour

In a large pot over high heat, combine the chicken, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool slightly. Using 2 fork, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and add the squash, tomatoes, cumin cinnamon and Bijol. Simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, make the dumplings: Place the plantains in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 teaspoons water and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave until very soft, about 2 minutes. (If you don’t have a microwave, place the plantains in a fry pan with 1/3 cup  water, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over medium heat until the plantains are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. NOTE: Do not use any more water than this or  the plantain’s sweetness will leach out into the water. Sprinkle the plantains with the salt and pepper and mash them with a fork until smooth. Add  egg, cornmeal and rice flour to the plantain mixture until a combined. Roll the mashed plantain into smooth balls about 1 inch in diameter.

Drop the plantain dumplings into the soup and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

*Cook’s Notes:
Six to seven bone-in chicken thighs can be substituted for the chicken breast if you like more flavor to the soup.

If Bijol or tumeric are not readily available, Goya Sazon Culantro y Achiote® seasoning is available in most major supermarkets and grocery stores. With its combination of garlic, cumin, coriander seed, it can be the perfect seasoning for this soup, also giving a vibrant red orange color that is visually appealing.

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Asparagus Ravioli in Parmesan Sauce



Do not let the title of this recipe fool you. This dish is really a soup that brings out the best flavors of a homemade stock. You can serve it as a light lunch or it  can start off your dinner menu as a first course.

Serves  4 to 6

Green Pasta Dough (Click Here for the Recipe)

For the Broth:
1 pound  white asparagus, trimmed
5 cups rich chicken stock
One 3-inch rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1 large bay leaf

For the Filling:
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1/4 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
A pinch of salt

Special Equipment:
A pasta machine

Make broth and filling while dough stands, coming to room temperature.Cut off asparagus tips, then halve each tip lengthwise and reserve.

Bring stock, cheese rind and bay leaf to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then add asparagus stems and cook, uncovered, until stems are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer stems to paper towels and cool slightly. Reserve the broth and set aside.

To make the filling: Purée asparagus stems in a food processor with grated Parmesan, Mascarpone, bread crumbs, parsley, pine nuts, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place the filling in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the ravioli:Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Cover 3 pieces with plastic wrap, then pat out remaining piece into a flat rectangle and generously dust with flour.

Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting. Feed rectangle, a short side first, through rollers. Fold rectangle in thirds, like a letter, and feed it, a short side first, through rollers. Repeat 6 or 7 more times, folding dough in thirds and feeding it through rollers, a short side first each time, dusting with flour to prevent sticking.



Turn dial to next (narrower) setting and feed dough through rollers without folding, a short side first. Continue to feed dough through without folding, making space between rollers narrower each time, until the second- or third-narrowest setting is used. Do not roll too thin or pasta will tear when filled.Mario Batali's Green Pasta Dough Recipe Text | Rouxbe Cooking School

Put the pasta sheet on a lightly floured kitchen towel (not terry cloth) with a long side nearest you. Drop 6 rounded teaspoon-size mounds of filling 10 inches apart in a row down center of right half of sheet. Brush pasta around mounds of filling lightly with water, then lift left half of sheet and drape over mounds.



Press down firmly but gently around each mound, forcing out air. (Air pockets increase the chance that ravioli will break during cooking.)  Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, or a cookie cutter, cut the pasta between mounds, roughly 2-inch squares. Line a large shallow baking pan with a lightly floured kitchen towel (not terry cloth), then arrange ravioli in 1 layer in it. Make more ravioli with remaining pieces of dough and remaining filling, transferring to lined pan.



To cook the ravioli and asparagus tips:Bring a pasta pot of salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Bring reserved broth to a simmer, then simmer asparagus tips, uncovered, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season broth with salt, then divide broth and asparagus tips among 6 shallow bowls, discarding cheese rind and bay leaf. Add half of ravioli to gently boiling water, carefully stirring to separate, and cook, adjusting heat to keep at a gentle boil, until pasta is just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.




Lift the cooked ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well over pot, then transfer to  serving bowls  filled with  the broth. Repeat with remaining ravioli Garnish with shaved Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, if desired and serve immediately.


Cook’s Notes:
The filling and broth, without asparagus tips, can be made 1 day ahead. Chill separately, uncovered, until cool, then covered. Wonton wrappers can be used instead of fresh pasta, if time is of the essence.