Recipe of the week:
Cuban Style Chicken Soup (for the Soul) (from my book Sabor! A Passion for Cuban Cuisine, Running Press Hardcover 2008, Paperback 2012)
Serves 6 to 8
4 chicken breast halves, Bone in, skins removed
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt, plus more as needed
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup diced white potatoes
4 ounces angel hair pasta
Pepper to taste
Lime wedge, for serving
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the chicken breasts, garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for at least 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through and opaque.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Discard the garlic and bay leaf. Reserve ½ cup of the hot stock and dissolve the tomato paste. Set aside. Transfer the remaining stock to another container and allow it to cool completely.
Heat the olive oil in the same pot used to make the stock. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the potatoes and the tomato paste mixture, and the stock. The stock should cover the vegetables by 3 to 4 inches. If the stock is too low, add more water.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 40 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the bone and tear it into pieces with your hands or a knife. Add the chicken and the pasta to the stock and stir to incorporate.
Bring the soup to a boil again, consequently, reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, stirring it occasionally. Turn off the heat and season. Add a squeeze of lime before serving.