Quickie Caribbean Chicken Soup

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A Surprisingly Delicious Soup Created from Memories of Pollo Tropical’s Caribbean Chicken Soup
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Hubby has a cold and really wanted a hearty chicken soup for dinner. It was late, we didn’t feel like driving 30 miles to Pollo Tropical for his favorite Caribbean Chicken Soup, so I searched the web for a recipe for same. Finding nothing, I decided to improvise. A quick trip to Publix and in about an hour we had a tasty soup, plenty for four very large bowls. The result: one happy hubby, one blogging wife, and now, you too, have the option to experience the pleasure!
Ingredients:
1 Publix rotisserie chicken, Mojo flavor
1 small calabaza squash
1 green plantain, on the ripe side

Happy Plantain, about this ripe!

Happy Plantain, about this ripe!

1 medium sweet potato
1 small package frozen yuca
1 cup frozen sweet baby peas
1 cup frozen sweet and white corn
1/2 cup diced onions
1-2 tablespoons garlic (minced, fresh or jar)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
2 packets Badia Sazo’n Tropical (con culantro y achiote, with annatto and coriander)

This stuff

This stuff

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cartons chicken stock (7.6 oz each, College Inn, Bold Stock, Rotisserie Chicken flavor)
Juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 orange or tangerine
2-4 cups of water
Directions:
Cut the calabaza squash into several large pieces and scoop out seeds and strings. Place skin side up on plate and microwave 5-8 minutes (this step makes it a lot easier to skin and cube)
Meanwhile, saute’ onions and garlic in oil in a large soup pot, until golden brown
Peel and cube plantain and sweet potato
Add these to the onion to saute’ briefly, stirring occasionally to prevent burning
Add the broth, frozen yuca, peas, corn and seasonings and bring to boil
Cut up the chicken breasts and leg meat, discarding skin (or, if you can’t resist, have a taste of the skin before you discard it)
Save the wings for tomorrow’s lunch
Add chicken pieces to the boiling mixture
Keep soup at a lightly rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
Remove the calabaza from microwave and using a knife and fork, carefully (it’s hot!) cut the flesh away from the skin, cubing it as you go and slipping the cubes into the soup
Remove the large chunks of yuca from the soup with a slotted spoon
With a fork and knife, slice these lengthwise into quarters, remove the center spine, then cube the yuca, and return it to the soup (you may not need all the yuca, you decide)
Let cook until the yuca cooks all the way through, tasting and adjusting seasonings/water amount as you wait, adding water as needed to keep enough fluid to stay soup instead of a stew
Ladle into soup bowls and serve with French or Cuban bread slices. Cures what ails ya.

For a different kind of fare, visit my other blog at

joantwarren.com

Happy Accident: Chicken Calamatacata

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Sometimes my pantry gets stuck in a time warp. I’ll pull something out thinking I just bought it last month, or so, and, bam, it happens again: “Best if used by July 2012.” Yes, it’s nearly 2014.

More than once  (okay, so many times he doesn’t believe me any more when I say, yes, we have all we need in the pantry), my sweet and oh-so-patient honey has rushed to the store for something after asking me to check an expiration date, while I cook.

I started making Chicken Piccata tonight and realized too late that the jar of capers had expired. Their fuzzy white coats were my first hint the time warp had struck again. So, instead of asking hubby  to run to Publix (everything else was timed and ready), I took a chance. No, I didn’t serve the fuzzy capers, I took a chance and substituted sliced Calamata olives for the capers.

Wow, delicious! A happy accident, and a hit with all but the four-year-old picky eater!

Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Piccata turned Chicken Calamatacata
2 Boneless chicken breasts, butterflied or thin-sliced.
Salt and pepper
2 T butter or margarine
2T olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced Calamata olives

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts, dredge in flour.
Heat to sizzling the butter and oil in large fry pan.
Pan-fry chicken breasts 3-5 minutes per side, browning them.
Remove them to dish.
Add lemon juice and broth, heat to boiling, scraping any brown from pan into the sauce. Cook until reduces by a third. Return chicken to pan, cook another 5 minutes.  Add olives and stir. Remove chicken to serving plate and pour sauce with olives over meat. Serve immediately.

We had them with sour cream and onion potatoes and broccoli, would be great with Calamata mashed potatoes too. I’ll share that recipe soon.

For a different kind of fare, visit my other blog at

joantwarren.com