SOUPS & STEWS

chicken soup

This Cuban Chicken Soup Makes You Feel Loved!

Comforting Cuban chicken soup is on every abuela’s arsenal! This is the cure if anyone has a cold or is just a bit under the weather! Chicken noodle soup seems so basic I almost didn’t add this recipe to the blog, but it’s my favorite soup and it just takes me back to my childhood and feeling loved on when I had a cold. Lots of love goes into making this Cuban chicken soup and even if it doesn’t cure the common cold, it cures the common cold blues.

While it’s packed with love, this homemade Cuban chicken noodle soup is super simple to make. The first time I made it on my own, I got it all wrong because I added too many seasonings, and the broth was not clear and golden like Mami’s. It didn’t taste anything like her Cuban chicken soup.

chicken soup

Cuban Chicken Soup Like Mami Makes

I called Mami to see where I had gone wrong. Here’s what she told me:

  • Use dark meat with the bones to make the soup. This is what gives the broth such a great flavor. 
  • Add onions, garlic, green peppers, tomato, carrots, celery, culantro and and bay leaves to the chicken and simmer for an hour. Culantro is a long leaf often used in Cuban cooking. You can find it with the other herbs. But if you can’t find it, don’t sweat it. I don’t always add it.
  • Strain the soup and press all the vegetables through a sieve to get all the flavor out of it. Mami likes to use a pestle to squeeze every bit of flavor out of the veggies and into the soup.  
  • Then add potatoes, fresh carrots, corn cobettes, and noodles. Add salt to taste. Chop the chicken and add it back into the soup. 

I made a few of my own edits to her Cuban chicken soup. I use red bell pepper instead of green pepper, and I add some saffron threads at the end. It gives the soup great flavor and a nice, golden color. Mami uses Bijol, a red food coloring used in many Cuban dishes. But I don’t like using the coloring, so I usually use paprika and/or saffron for flavor and golden color. Saffron is used in Spanish cooking, especially in making paella. But I love the flavor so much, I add it to many dishes, including chicken soup.

chicken soup

The Best Noodles for Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup

Cubans use fideos to make this chicken soup. These noodles are as thin as angel hair and are shaped into little bundles. You can make it with angel hair pasta, but I really love using these! Maybe it’s because I grew up eating them, or maybe it’s because they look like little birds’ nests. I like my soup with three little bundles, which I break up just before adding. If you can’t find these in the grocery store, you can also make it with angel hair pasta. If you use angel hair, break up the noodles before adding them to the soup.

This Cuban chicken soup really hits the spot when you’re sick! But really, it hits the spot all the time, especially with a thick slice of buttered Cuban bread.

So, I made my Cuban chicken noodle soup today. When my daughter walked into the kitchen and smelled it, she wanted to know who was sick. Yea, I pretty much make this soup when someone is sick. But, I should make it more often because it’s delicious!

Bean Train Food For Thought

Food associations are so strong! I have such vivid memories of having a comforting bowl of my mom’s delicious Cuban chicken soup when I was sick. It made me feel loved and cared for. So, I do the same thing for my kids. But I really shouldn’t wait until they’re sick to love on them with this soup.

Sometimes we save certain things for special occasions, but every day can be remarkable. Life is too short to limit the good stuff for just sometimes. So this Cuban chicken soup, hugs and kisses, and quality time are for every day because every day is special. ❤️

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chicken soup

Comforting Cuban Chicken Soup Is Just What The Doctor Ordered!

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: soups
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

This Cuban Chicken Soup is comforting and satisfying! It’s perfect for a cold day or when you’re feeling under the weather. 


Ingredients

Scale

For the stock:

1.5 lbs skinned chicken thighs  

1/2 medium onion, cut in half  

2 celery stalks, cut in half with the leaves  

3 garlic cloves, peeled  

2 culantro leaves (see note)

1 tomato, cut in half  

1 carrot

1/4 bell pepper (green or red is fine)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

For the soup:

1 small potato, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces  

2 carrots, sliced into quarter-inch rounds

4 corn cobettes  

2 to 3 bundles of fideos (see note)

One pinch Saffron affiliate link threads or a teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges for serving


Instructions

Make the Stock:

  • Fill a stockpot with water about 3/4 full (approx 12 cups). Add the chicken, onion, celery stalks, garlic, tomato, carrot, bell pepper, culantro and and bay leaves. Bring it to a boil, and lower the heat and simmer for an hour. 
  • Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, then strain the stock. Mash the vegetables through the strainer with the back of a spoon or a pestel. Scrape the bottom of the strainer, too. This will help capture every bit of flavor. 

Make the soup:

  • Peel and cut the potatoes into one-inch pieces. Peel and slice the carrots into quarter-inch rounds. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. 
  • Add the broth back to the pot and then throw in the potatoes, carrots, corn, and a pinch saffron threads or a teaspoon of paprika. Bring to a boil, add the noodles and cook until the noodles are softened. Taste and add salt as needed necessary. 
  • Now about the corn. I usually take these out and cut the corn kernels and add them back to the soup. Or you can leave the cobettes in. I like using corn cobettes instead of frozen corn because the husk gives the soup extra flavor.
  • Serve with Cuban bread, of course! 

Notes

You can use Latin-style fideos or angel hair. The amount of noodles will vary based on how you like your soup. I use 3 little bundles of fideos because we like it with a lot of noodles. You can substitute about 2-3 ounces of angel hair pasta. 

Culantro is an herb used in Cuban cooking. It has long leaves and can usually be found with the other herbs. But if you can’t find, don’t sweat it. 

Keywords: Cuban Chicken Soup, Cuban Chicken Soup Recipe, Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup, chicken noodle soup, homemade chicken soup

garbanzo bean soup

Garbanzo Bean Soup Is Hearty Enough To Be A Meal

Now is the perfect weather to enjoy a nourishing bowl of garbanzo bean soup! But honestly, we make this Cuban garbanzo bean soup year-round… and I live in sunny Miami. This bean soup is very simple to make and tastes so, so good. So filled with meat and veggies, it’s hearty enough to be a meal. I like to have a nice big bowl with a bit of bread on the side. It’s comfort food at its best!

Bean soups are a big part of Cuban cooking, including black beans, red beans, white beans, garbanzo beans, you name it. This may seem surprising considering that Cuba is a tropical island. You’d think it would be too hot to have soups all the time, but it’s a perennial side dish in Cuban meals. In fact, if you go to a Cuban restaurant, you’ll find bean soups are on the menu as a side or as the soup of the day… always.

If you’re not familiar with garbanzo beans, they are chickpeas. There’s no difference between garbanzo beans and chickpeas.

garbanzo bean soup


What Goes Into This Garbanzo Bean Soup


This soup has a little bit of everything! It’s packed with ham and chorizo, potatoes, pumpkins, and cabbage. I like using ham hocks or smoked ham chops because the smoky flavor of the ham chops really adds a little kick to this soup.

Do you know what else adds a big flavor kick? The chorizo! You just need one link, but the spicy flavor of the chorizo is a big part of this soup. The chorizo in this soup is Spanish chorizo, not the Mexican version. Spanish chorizo is cooked and cured, and sold in small links. The flavor is similar to pepperoni, and you can usually find it in the same section in the grocery store.

This garbanzo bean soup also has pumpkin and potatoes. The sweetness of the pumpkin and the mild flavor of the potato complement the spicy chorizo perfectly. The pumpkin is softer than the potatoes and tends to dissolve into the soup, which is nice because it gives it a little extra body and creaminess. If you don’t want the pumpkin to dissolve, make sure to cut it into bigger chunks.

I love the cabbage in this soup, too! I use about a cup of cabbage cut into one-inch pieces. You can add more if you like it. Or, you can just add a small wedge, so it’s easier to remove it if not everybody likes it. My stepfather is not too fond of it, so my mom tends to leave it as a wedge. But when Mami and I made this soup for the blog, we cut up the cabbage, and he liked it just fine. So chop it! Veggies are good for you 💚

The spices in this garbanzo bean soup include paprika, thyme, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, culantro and aromatics such as onions, peppers, and garlic. It’s got all the goods, baby! If you’re not familiar with culantro, it’s a large leaf often used in Caribbean and Latin cooking. You should be able to find it where the fresh herbs are found. If not, you can omit it. 

garbanzo beans

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans


First of all, I always soak the beans for a few hours or overnight before cooking them. Then, you can cook them on the stovetop or use the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker. I made my soup in the Instant Pot.

Rinse the soaked beans and add to a pot with water. I use about eight cups of water for one fourteen-ounce package of garbanzo beans (or chickpeas, same thing). Add the ham, half an onion, 1/3 green pepper, three garlic cloves, and bay leaves to the water. Do not cut the onions, peppers, or garlic cloves. We’re going to remove them once the beans are cooked. Now, cook the beans until they’re softened. This should take about an hour on the stovetop and thirty-five minutes in the Instant Pot.

garbanzo bean soup


Once the beans are softened, remove the onions, peppers, garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Sauté chopped onion, crushed garlic cloves and green peppers with olive oil until translucent and soft. Then, add the spices (paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin and another bay leaf) and tomato sauce and cook for another minute or so. Add the sauteed mix to the beans and throw in the chopped cabbage, potatoes, pumpkin, and chorizo. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for about thirty minutes more, and you’re done! If you’re using the Instant Pot, just set it on sauté.

Enjoy with some soft Cuban bread croutons and a drizzle of olive oil. Or add a few spoonfuls of white rice. Cubans love it that way too. ¡Buen provecho!

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chickpea soup

Garbanzo Bean Soup Is Hearty Enough To Be A Meal

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 1.5 hours
  • Total Time: 34 minute
  • Yield: 68 1x
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Instant Pot or Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

Hearty garbanzo bean soup (chickpea soup) is a very popular Cuban dish made with ham, chorizo, pumpkins and cabbage. Total comfort food!


Ingredients

Scale

14 ounces dry garbanzo beans or chickpeas

8 ounces smoked ham chops (you can use ham hocks too)

1 chorizo sausage link (about an ounce, give or take)

8 ounces red potatoes

8 ounces pumpkin

1 cup chopped green cabbage

1 medium yellow onion

2/3 green bell pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 bay leaves

2 culantro leaves

6 garlic cloves

½ cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon thyme

1 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste

8 cups water


Instructions

Soak the garbanzo beans for four hours or overnight.

Rinse the beans and add them to the Instant Pot with 8 cups of water. Add half the onion, 1/3 green bell pepper, 3 garlic cloves, culantro leaves, bay leaves and ham. Do not cut the onion and leave the pepper in one large chunk and the garlic cloves whole. We are going to remove these things once the beans are softened.

Cook in the Instant Pot affiliate link for 35 minutes on high pressure. If you’re cooking on the stovetop, bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour or until the beans are softened.

While the soup cooks, prep the vegetables.

Chop the other half of the onion, crush the garlic. You can chop the bell pepper or leave it whole. I don’t like the pepper in my soup so I leave it whole so I can avoid it or remove it. Chop the cabbage into one-inch pieces and peel and cut the potatoes and pumpkin into small chunks (about 1 ½ inches pieces). Also, slice the chorizo into ¼ inch slices. Measure out the spices. 

Once the beans are softened, remove the onions, bell pepper, garlic cloves, and the culantro and bay leaves. If you want to, you can cut up the ham into bite-size pieces.

Add the olive oil to a sauté pan on medium heat. Once heated, sauté the onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook until softened. This should take about 4-5 minutes. Add the oregano, cumin, paprika and thyme and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the mix to the beans, along with the chorizo, vegetables and another bay leaf. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the potatoes and pumpkin are cooked through. If you’re using an Instant Pot, saute for 25 minutes.

Serve with some soft croutons and a drizzle of olive oil. Or serve with a hearty slice of buttered bread. It’s comfort food!



Notes

Prep time does not include soaking the beans.

Keywords: Garbanzo bean soup, garbanzo beans, chickpeas, chickpea soup, instant pot garbanzo beans, cuban garbanzo bean soup, how to cook garbanzo beans

Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

The Best Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

This Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup is Mami’s recipe, and it’s eaten at her house every week. Cubans love their black beans and serve it over rice with most meals. In fact, Cuban restaurants have black beans and rice as the typical side with any entrée.

You could say that black beans are the staple of the Cuban diet, at least it was for me growing up. Old-time Cubans think that eating rice without beans is too dry and forget about eating any entrée without rice! You’d think in a tropical climate like Cuba they would not be eating bean soups so often, but it’s their go to, no matter the temperature outside.

I don’t eat Cuban black beans as often as I used to growing up, but you can bet I have a few servings stashed in my freezer for quick black beans whenever the comfort food mood strikes. Mami (aka Bean Train) usually makes it for me and freezes it in little one-cup care packages. 

Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

Authentic Cuban Black Beans Are Simple And Easy To Make

Traditional Cuban black bean soup is a basic dish with just a few ingredients. I know many recipes call for tomatoes and such, but that’s not very traditional. An authentic Cuban black beans recipe has the traditional sofrito made with onions, peppers, and garlic. Seasonings include bay leaves, cumin, and oregano. Some Cuban recipes also use salt pork, but it’s optional. You can easily make vegan black bean soup by omitting the pork. 

While you can cook the beans on the stovetop, my mom always used a pressure cooker. Now I use an Instant Pot, but either method cuts down the cooking time significantly. 

Soaking and Cooking The Beans

Most Cuban recipes call for soaking the beans for a few hours or overnight. This makes the beans cook faster, breaks down complex sugars that make beans hard to digest, and removes harmful lectins. To learn more about how to cook beans, check out this New York Times article.

Cuban black beans and picadillo

The Best Way to Eat Cuban Black Beans

You can enjoy a bowl of black beans as a soup. They are healthy and delicious. But most Cubans eat their beans over rice, as I mentioned earlier. It’s paired with just about any entrée, but it’s the best with picadillo or ropa vieja. A bowl of white rice, black beans, and picadillo is Cuban comfort food for me!

These beans freeze well, and you can keep them in the freezer for six months if they last that long. That way, you can always make it a part of any meal. My son likes to turn it into refried beans for nachos or enchiladas. 

You can also top the beans with avocado, cilantro, or a little pico de gallo and make your simple bean soup into a meal. I hope you enjoy making my Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup ?

¡Buen provecho!

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Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

The Best Cuban Instant Pot Black Bean Soup

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

Cuban black bean soup is the quintessential Cuban dish! This authentic recipe is super easy to make, with just a few simple ingredients. We usually serve it with rice as a side dish, but it’s hearty enough to be a meal on its own. 


Ingredients

Scale

14 oz package dried black beans

2 bay leaves

1 green bell pepper

½ white onion (1 cup chopped)

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 ounce salt pork (about ½ cup chopped)

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon cumin


Instructions

Soaking: Soak black beans in water and a pinch of salt for 4 hours or overnight. 

Instant Pot: Rinse the beans and add to the Instant Pot along 8 cups of water, 2 bay leaves ½ green pepper, seeds, and ribs removed. Set the Instant Pot to pressure for 25 minutes. Make sure the steam valve is sealed. It will take about 20 minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure, and then it will cook for 25 minutes. Once it’s done, allow the steam to release naturally, which should take about 10 minutes or so.

Prep: While the steam is releasing. Chop half a white onion, crush the garlic, chop the salt pork, and cut the remaining half green pepper into 6 large pieces (I remove these later, but if you want to leave in, you can chop the pepper finely). 

Sauté:

  • Set a saute pan on medium heat and add a few tablespoons of water and salt pork once heated.
  • Let it cook until the fat is rendered and the pork is browned for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add one tablespoon olive oil and let it heat up for 30 seconds.
  • Add the onions, garlic, and pepper and sauté until onions are softened about 5 minutes. 

Black Beans: Once the steam has been released, open the Instant Pot and add the salt pork, sauteed vegetables, and seasonings. Set the Instant Pot to sauté and cook for 30 minutes if you like your beans brothy or 45 minutes for thicker beans. 

Finishing: Once the beans are cooked to your desired thickness, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Adjust seasoning as desired. 

Serve with white rice. 

Makes 10 one-cup servings. 



Notes

These beans freeze well and can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. 

Stovetop Directions: If you’re not using an Instant Pot, you can simmer the beans on the stove top for an hour. Then add the sofrito, salt pork and seasonings and cook on low-medium heat until desired consistency. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 10

Keywords: instant pot black bean soup, cuban black beans, authentic cuban black beans, authentic cuban black beans recipe

Chicken Fricassee Cuban Style

Easy Chicken Fricassee Cuban Style (Fricasé de Pollo)

I grew up cooking Cuban food. And this chicken fricassee recipe is the first one I mastered when I was a teenager.  What is a fricassee? It’s more a method of cooking than an actual dish. Fricassee is a French word that means cut up pieces of meat sauteed and then simmered in a sauce. This method is also popular in Spain.  

And it’s from there that fricassee found its way to the Spanish Caribbean. Cuban Chicken Fricassee (Fricasé de Pollo) has a tomato base with dry wine.  

My first fricassee used turkey instead of chicken and I was so proud of it too!  Growing up Cuban in Miami, a traditional turkey dinner wasn’t something I did until I was married to my very American husband. I remember thinking I had bitten off more than I could chew as I was cutting up the turkey, but it came out delicious.  Mami tried to take the credit for the turkey fricassee since she’s the one who taught me, but I wouldn’t let her. Lady, it was my trophy turkey! 

chicken fricassee cuban

Some Changes To Mami’s Original Chicken Fricassee Recipe

I used to make this with a cut-up fryer chicken, just like Mami used to make. Nowadays I only use skinless chicken thighs. I find chicken breast to be too dry and drumsticks not as meaty.  

My Cuban Chicken Fricassee recipe includes carrots and saffron which my Mom didn’t use. Saffron is not traditional and it’s a pricey spice, so it’s totally optional. I like using it because it gives it such an amazing flavor, similar to paella. I found myself compulsively tasting the sauce when I already knew it was good. So super tasty!!

Some recipes also call for raisins but my crew doesn’t like them. I would definitely recommend you try it at least once with the raisins to see if you like it.  

Cuban chicken fricasee

This dish is usually served over white rice, but you can also use brown rice. Or serve it as a stew with some crusty bread for dipping.  Make enough for leftovers because this recipe is even better the second day. When my kids were little, I would shred the chicken and mix it with rice. The kids loved it! ¡Buen provecho! 

As a teenager, I was so annoyed when my mom tried to take credit for my accomplishments, like making Turkey Fricassee from scratch. I didn’t want to be in her shadow. But now that I’m a parent, I understand my mom was simply excited that I succeeded with her help. Parenting can be so hard sometimes, it’s exhilarating when our kids succeed because that means we also succeeded as a parent. Thank you so much Mami, sorry I was such a brat about the fricassee.

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How to Make Chicken Fricassee Cuban Style

How to Make Chicken Fricassee Cuban Style

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

Chicken Fricassee Cuban style is a savory chicken stew served over rice. It’s a very popular Cuban dish that’s easy to make. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 pounds skinless chicken thighs with bones (you can use a mix of chicken pieces including thighs and breast if you prefer) 
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced 
  • 1⁄2 cup red bell pepper, diced 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed 
  • 2 teaspoons oregano 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of saffron threads (optional) 
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes 
  • 1⁄2 cup cooking wine (vino seco)
  • 3 tablespoons Spanish olives 
  • 3 tablespoons raisins (optional) 
  • 1 cup peeled potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 1 cup peeled carrots cut into 1-inch sections

Instructions

  1. Spices: Mix the spices, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. 
  2. Prep: Cut the onions and peppers and crush the garlic. 
  3. Clean and season the chicken: Trim the fat off the chicken. I use kitchen shears for this, it’s so much easier. Pat dry the chicken on paper towels. Sprinkle each chicken piece with the spice mixture and set it aside while you dice the onions and peppers and crush the garlic.  
  4. Brown the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces in batches on both sides, 2–3 minutes per side. Use another tablespoon of olive oil for the second batch, if the pan is dry. You don’t want the pieces to stick to the pan. Transfer the browned pieces to a platter and leave the fat in the pan. 
  5. Sautee onions: Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and saute onion, pepper, and garlic over medium heat until softened about 5 minutes. 
  6. Add tomatoes and spices: Add crushed tomatoes, vino seco, bay leaf, and a pinch of saffron and simmer for 5 minutes.  
  7. Add chicken: Add the chicken to the pan again and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, turn over and add the carrots, cook another 5 minutes. 
  8. Add the vegetables: Add the potatoes, olives, and raisins and cook for 20 minutes more.

Serve over rice or with Cuban bread for dipping into the sauce! 



Notes

I used to cook this with a regular dutch oven pot, but I recently purchased a Cuisinart Cast Iron Porcelain affiliate link Casserole and I love it! It doesn’t stick and it’s easier to clean than I expected. And I love how even it heats and how pretty it looks. I’m linking to the one I used for this recipe. 

Keywords: chicken fricassee cuban, chicken fricassee, cuban chicken fricasee, what is chicken fricassee

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