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Cuban Plantain Soup recipe - Sopa de Platano

courtesy of the Cocina Cubana Club founded by Pascual Perez & chef Sonia Martinez

Here is one that I remember from early days. My Cuban grandmother used to make a version of this, but I don't have her exact recipe. I do remember she would make "Chicharritas"- the green plantain fried chips, and then would grind them up with an old-fashioned meat grinder and add the ground up chips to chicken broth. Other than that, I can't remember what else she did. Except that it was always served with wedges of fresh lemon or lime.

This recipe is from Steven Raichlen's Miami Spice cookbook. Serves 4.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion finelly chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken stock
2 green plantains, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves (optional)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Cook the onion, carrot, celery and garlic over medium heat until soft, but not brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the plantains, bay leaf, cumin, half the cilantro, salt and pepper. Return soup to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, until plantains are very tender, 40 to 50 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot. If the soup is to thick, thin it with a little more stock. Just before serving, reheat and correct seasonings, adding salt, pepper and cumin, if necessary. If you opted to use cilantro, garnish with the reserved portion.

I prefer to not use the cilantro and serve this soup fairly thick and creamy in big, wide rim soup bowls with wedges of lemon or lime for squirting in the soup. Some Cuban bread slices and a salad should suffice. It is a very hearty soup.

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Free instructions on how to make a traditional Cuban soup (receta de sopa Cubana).

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