Tag Archives: quick meals

Simple Caribbean Chicken Noodle Soup (throw it all into the pot at once! Serves four as a main course))

19 Aug

Yeah, yeah, your grandmother’s chicken soup. I know. It was the best. Could raise the dead, in fact.

Just five minutes of chopping, and throw it all in the pot! No browning, no saute, no mirepoix, no sofrito, no roux.

Well this chicken soup may not be your grandmother’s, or even your mother-in-law’s. It may not be complex, may not feature a rich and dense stock, may not have anything at all fancy about it. But if you want to just throw a bunch of things in a pot and end up with a soothing, yummy, cure-all of a soup in less than a half hour, I think you will like my soup a whole lot. It’s a typical Puerto Rican and, apparently Aruban, style of soup prep.

The first tender tropical culantro leaves from a container on my Long Island stoop!

Important note: in this soup, my herbs were the first recao (culantro) I was able to harvest from the seeds I brought from Puerto Rico. You do not need them to make this soup – choose whatever you most like in the green herby kingdom – but I want to share with you my satisfaction at growing, on my stoop, one of the most distinctive elements of Puerto Rican cuisine. Eryngium foetidum – also known as recao, culantro and sawtooth coriander — is something that smells delicious in the rain, that tastes similar to cilantro, but is less citric and a bit deeper.

And another view of the recao…yes, I am inordinately proud…

I grew it at my grandmother’s house in Mayagüez from seeds from my great-aunt Amida, but have struggled to get it to grow here on Long Island. Thanks to a mad-humid summer, it has flourished in a container and I am very happy not to have to buy it already cut and fading in flavor from the local Latin grocery that gets it from Costa Rica. ¡¡¡¡TRIUNFO!!!

Comfort in a pot

No-Fuss Chicken Noodle Soup (amounts of vegetables are flexible)

2 quarts water (with a stock cube) or stock (or a mix of the two)

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 green pepper (preferably cubanelle or Italian cooking pepper), chopped

1 lb chicken breast (or boneless thighs), in 1’ cubes

1 Tbs herbs of your choice, chopped (especially culantro/recao/sawtooth cilantro)

Handful of soup noodles (fideos)

Salt to taste

Bin a large stockpot, bring water/stock to a boil. Add remaining ingredients, except noodles and salt. Return to boil. Lower heat to a lively simmer for at least 20 minutes. The longer you have the more tender the chicken. Add noodles five minutes before you finish simmering. Salt to taste and serve. I recommend adding hot sauce, like sriracha, to taste!

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