It’s so cold here in Florida that I had to turn to comfort food to try to get warm. My favorite comfort food – Asopao de Gandules con Bollitas de Platanos (PRONUNCIATION: ahh-so-pow— dae — gone-doo-lez –cone– boy-gee-toz — dae –plot-ahh-nose).
I know!!! Believe me it was harder for me trying to figure out how to write how to say this if I didn’t know Spanish, than it was to make it. Phew! Glad that’s over….okay so what is it you ask? Let me give you the definition of what it is straight from Wikipedia (gosh I LOVE that site!) Here’s their definition: “Asopao is a rice soup from Puerto Rico. It is made with either chicken, pork, beef, seafood or vegetables”.
So there you have it, the simple definition of what this soup is. I would personally add that it’s a “hearty” rice soup — pure comfort in a bowl, and to add to that, we toss in bollitas (dumplings) which can be made with plantains or green bananas (for this recipe, I did the plantain dumplings since I didn’t have any green bananas at hand. Now technically I have to tell you that in some Puerto Rican households, they DO NOT add rice to this asopao if you make the gandules version, but this version includes BOTH. You are more than welcome to omit the rice, if you’re so inclined. Variations of this hearty soup can be found throughout the latino communities (click on the link if you’re interested to learn more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asopao).
The first thing you start out with is either diced ham or diced smoked pork. I’m fortunate that my supermarket carries this brand of already cubed smoked pork shoulder, so that’s what I used:
You will add your oil to the pan and sauté your ham or pork, for a couple of minutes, then add the sofrito and mix well. For the recipe to the sofrito, click on this link: http://angieskitchenshenanigans.com/sofrito-puerto-rican-seasoning-base/ or you can buy Goya’s frozen kind (I would highly recommend you make your own though) 🙂
After adding your sofrito to your diced ham or pork, add in your tomato sauce, then either your frozen gandules or your drained canned gandules (season to your family’s taste). The rest of the instructions is written below, but this recipe is not hard at all. I think the hardest part may be peeling the plantains and if you don’t have vitamix, you’ll need to grate your plantain with a grater. That’s as hard as it gets folks. Comfort food in about an hour! Don’t forget your favorite pique it just adds a little somethin, somethin…you know what I mean?
With the cold spell we’re having recently in the southeast, I don’t know about you, but I could use a warm bowl of this deliciousness right about now. See ya…
Enjoy y Buen Provecho!
Yields 8 servings
A delicious thick hearty soup made with plantain dumplings, pigeon peas and rice. Sure to delight and keep you warm for these cold winter nights.
45 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 2 large green plantains, peeled and shredded in vitamix or food processor
- 1/2 tsp. crushed garlic
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup diced cooking ham or pork shoulder bits
- ½ cup sofrito
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. Garlic or to taste
- 1 package of frozen Gandules (pigeon peas) or 2 cans Gandules, drained and rinsed
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- ½ pound West Indian pumpkin, peeled and diced
- 1 cup medium-grain rice
- salt and pepper to taste
- olives and capers or manzanilla olives, to taste, optional
- 3 leaves of culantro, chopped up into strips or 1/3 cup of cilantro chopped fine, optional but highly recommended
- After grating plantains, mix all of the ingredients together by hand or spoon making sure garlic and salt are fully incorporated into the plantain dough.
- Take 1 heaping tablespoonful of plantain, shape into an oval ball. When finished shaping all of the dumplings, place them in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the rest of the soup so they can stay in shape and not fall apart when adding them to the soup.
- In a large caldero, heat olive oil and add in diced ham or pork. Sauté well for about two to three minutes.
- Add the sofrito and cook about 3 to 4 more minutes, then add tomato sauce and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the Gandules and sauté a bit, then add in your stock and the rest of the ingredients except for the rice and Bollitas, bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to medium then add in rice, stir, then add in the Bollitas very gently.
- Cover with lid and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and soup has thickened.
- Remove lid and add in the culantro or cilantro, if using, and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat.
Please note that this soup will thicken because of the rice and plantains, so if you will be having leftovers (that's never the case in our house) but if you are, just add a little more stock or water before reheating to thin it out and make it loose once again.