Caldo de Gallina (Dominican Chicken Soup)

We just can’t seem to let go of winter’s chill out here on the island. Perhaps some Dominican style chicken soup will be good for the soul. A bit of red pepper flakes adds just the right amount of heat to this fairly straight forward broth.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds cooked chicken (skinned, boned, cut into small pieces)
  • 2 medium potatos (cut into cube-like structures)
  • ½ cup of Yucca (cut into cube-like structures too)
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 cup celery stalk (chopped into cubes)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (if not available, substitute dried parsley)
  • 1 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 10 cups water
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add chicken, bouillon cubes, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and dried cilantro. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water, potatoes, yucca. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Break up the angel hair pasta and add to the pot. Stir frequently until noodles are tender. Remove from the heat and serve.

dominican chicken soup

Sustainable Squid – Stuffed

Squid… I know, everyone’s tried fried calamari, and a lot of people don’t like unhealthy fried foods. But today is not a calamari day. Its stuffed squid day! Squid is healthy and nutritious seafood that rates favorable on our sustainability scale. There are several ways to work with this often overlooked delicacy, but today is stuffed squid day.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 8 to 10 whole squid (about 3 to 5 inches each)
  • 2 ounces raw shrimp
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups pasta sauce

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and salt and sweat until the onions turn translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not brown them, then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Transfer this mixture to a medium mixing bowl and let cool.

Clean the squid thoroughly and remove the heads from the tentacles and discard the heads. Turn the tubes inside out as the outside skin tends to curl outward, it’ll curl better inside out, put them into a bowl with some ice and set in the refrigerator until ready to use. Place the tentacles and the shrimp into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 6 to 8 times or until there are no large pieces visible. Do not process until smooth. Now, if you don’t have shrimp, a reasonable alternative here would be crab meat, or even left over lobster, but who would have any lobster left-over.

Now, transfer this to the mixing bowl along with the onions and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, tomato, lemon zest, ginger, parsley and pepper. Stir to combine well. This is the stuffing mixture.

Now, here’s a handy trick that I saw on “Good Eats”, place the mixture into a re-sealable freezer bag and snip a corner.  Pipe the stuffing into the tubes. Do not over-stuff.

Place the tubes into an 8 by 11-inch glass baking dish and cover with the pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately. I like to serve it over pasta.

for more on sustainable squid: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/longfin_squid.htm