Cuban Chicken Soup with Plantain Dumplings

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Recipe adapted from the cookbook
Cuba! Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen
by Dan Goldberg, Andrea Kuhn and Jody Eddy
2016

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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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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Pork Tonkatsu with Ponzu Cherry Compote

 

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Tonkatsu is one of the most beloved “western style” Japanese foods in Japan. A pork cutlet is dredged in flour, egg, panko and then fried. “Ton” is Japanese for pork, and “katsu” is derived from the word for cutlet. The best thing about tonkatsu is that it’s super easy to make.

The highlight of this dish is the ponzu flavored cherry compote. Ponzu (ポン酢?) is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is tart, with a thin, watery consistency and a dark brown color. Ponzushōyu or ponzu jōyu (ポン酢醤油) is ponzu sauce with soy sauce (shōyu) added, and the mixed product is widely referred to as simply ponzu.The element pon arrived in the Japanese language from the English word punchSu () is Japanese for vinegar, and hence the name literally means vinegar punch.

To make the dish even more Asian in flavor, mizuna would have been used in the salad.
Mizuna (ミズナ(水菜)which loosely translated into English as  “water greens” is also known as , shui cai, kyona, Japanese mustard, potherb mustard, Japanese greens, California peppergrass, or spider mustard is a cultivatedvariety of Brassica rapa nipposinica. The name is also used for Brassica juncea var. japonica. The taste of mizuna has been described as a “piquant, mild peppery flavor…slightly spicy, but less so than arugula. A vigorous grower producing numerous stalks bearing dark green, deeply cut and fringed leaves. They have a fresh, crisp taste and can be used on their own or cooked with meat. I Japanese cuisine, you will find them pickled. Highly resistant to cold and grown extensively during the winter months in Japan.

This dish is easy to make and takes less than thirty minutes to complete, from start to finish. The finish plate for each serving is a pork cutlet topped laying on a bed of dressed arugula and  with a cherry compote and a sprinkling of lemon zest.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh  dark cherries*
2 cloves garlic
1  package of fresh argula
4 pork cutlets
2 Tablespoons ponzu sauce
3 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black pepper, to taste
1 Teaspoons mustard powder
1 cup  Japanese panko bread crumbs
1 egg
Zest of 1 lemon

Directions:
Wash produce. Roughly chop cherries, discarding pits. Peel and mince garlic. Place the pork between to sheets of plastic wrap; using a meat mallet, rolling pin or small heavy pan, pound to about an  ½ inch thickness. Remove pork from the plastic and  pat dry with a paper towel.

Prepare Ingredients:

 

To make the cherry ponzu compote: In a small bowl, combine the honey and ponzu sauce. Add  the cherries and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.

 

To bread the pork: In a large shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. In a second large shallow bowl, whisk together the egg with mustard powder. In a third large shallow bowl, add panko bread crumbs. Season pork on both sides with salt and pepper. Add to flour, turn to coat, then shake off excess. Add to egg, turn to coat, then allow excess to drip off. Add to panko bread crumbs, pressing to adhere.

Bread Pork:

 

 

 

To cook the tonkatsu: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add pork and cook until browned on outside, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Cook Pork Tonkatsu:

 

While pork cooks, in a large bowl, combine  garlic, and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the arugula and toss to coat.

 

To serve, divide the  pork tonkatsu and salad evenly between plates. Spoon the ponzu cherry compote over pork; garnish with the lemon zest  and serve.

Enjoy!

Cook’s Notes:
If fresh cherries are not available, frozen dark cherries can be used in this recipe. Just be sure to thaw and drain any excess water before using.

Canned cherries can also be used, just omit the honey, if the cherries are packed in a heavy syrup or glaze

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Uovo Ravioli il sugo di burro salvia

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I first had this dish while traveling through Italy years ago. This gorgeous oversized ravioli is filled with a ring of creamy seasoned ricotta surrounding a perfectly intact, perfectly runny yolk. They are so rich, so delicious, and so beautifully served . This type of showstopping dish is perfect for a Sunday Brunch that will impress your family and friends.

Uovo Ravioli il sugo di burro salvia
(Egg Ravioli in a Sage Brown Butter Sauce)

Serves 5

INGREDIENTS:
For the Ravioli:
5 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
One ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 recipe Classic fresh egg pasta (click here for the recipe)
10 large eggs

For the Pan Sauce:
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 teaspoons fresh juice from 1 lemon, divided
1 bunch of fresh sage leaves

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
Pasta machine, a 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter

DIRECTIONS:
For the Ravioli: Lay a clean kitchen towel or a triple layer of lint-free paper towels on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread ricotta evenly over surface of towels. Top with a second clean kitchen towel or triple layer or paper towels. Press with hands or a second rimmed baking sheet and let stand until excess moisture has been absorbed, 5 minutes. Transfer ricotta to a medium bowl.

Stir Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice into ricotta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. With a spoon, transfer filling into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip or a zipper-lock bag with a 1/4-inch hole cut from a bottom corner. Refrigerate.

Meanwhile, divide dough into 2 even sections. Working one section at a time, with remaining section tightly wrapped in plastic, roll dough through machine until sheet is just under 1/16th of an inch thick. Cut sheet in half to create 2 pieces of dough roughly 15 inches long and 5 inches across.
Lay dough sheets out on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3 /12-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles as close together as possible; you should have 10 rounds of dough from the 2 sheets. Cover 5 of the dough rounds with a kitchen towel to keep moist and discard any remaining dough scraps.

Use pastry bag to gently squeeze out a ring of filling approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto each of the 5 uncovered dough rounds. Then pipe a second ring directly on top of each of the first ones.

Working one at a time, separate 5 egg yolks from whites and gently slide yolk into center of ricotta fillings.

Remove towel from the other 5 dough rounds, and, working one at a time and using a pastry brush dipped in water, very lightly wet the edge of each dough round. Set dough rounds on top of each raviolo, moistened-side down. Slowly working your way around each raviolo, press and stretch the top dough rounds to make the edges meet with bottom dough rounds. Press down gently on each filling to remove air bubbles, being careful not to press on yolks themselves, then press edges to seal. Transfer ravioli to floured parchment paper, cover with kitchen towel, and repeat Steps 3 through 7 with remaining portion of dough.

For the Pan Sauce: Bring unsalted water to a boil in a large pot. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add the 1/2 of the butter, stirring, for about a minute until golden brown. Add a few torn the sage leaves and saute for 30 seconds. Add half of wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until wine is almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

When water is boiling, gently slide ravioli into pot. Boil for 1 minute 30 seconds. Note that the ravioli will be slightly undercooked. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Meanwhile, return the skillet pan to low heat and melt half of butter in each.

Evenly divide lemon juice, pasta water, and ravioli between both skillets. Swirl pan gently to until sauce is emulsified, approximately 1 minute. Add more fresh sage leaves
Transfer 2 to 3 ravioli to each plate and spoon pan sauce on top and serve.