Asopao with Pigeon Peas and Plantains

When Frank and I visited Puerto Rico during a vacation, I fell in love with this soup and ate it every day. I couldn’t go without it once I got home, so I went to work making this recipe, which has become very popular. And plantains are available in nearly every supermarket.

Ingredients

  • 1 small white organic onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 small organic bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives, drained
  • 1 4-ounce package soy pepperoni
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 12-ounce bag pigeon peas, sorted for stones
  • 3 large organic bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large organic potatoes, cut into large dice, set in a bowl covered with water to prevent them from darkening
  • 3 large green plantains, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices, set in a bowl covered with water to prevent them from darkening
  • cups cooked organic brown rice

Method

  1. Place the onion, garlic, chopped small peppers, and cilantro into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Cover and process for about a minute until finely minced.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 8-quart pot over low-medium heat. Add the minced mixture, called soffrito, and cook for about a minute, stirring frequently to flavor the oil. Add the olives. Separate the slices of soy pepperoni and add them to the pot. Stir to combine. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, bay leaf, oregano, paprika, saffron, salt, and pepper. Cover, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil, which should take about 15 minutes.
  3. When mixture reaches a boil, lower the heat to medium and stir in the sorted pigeon peas. Cover and continue cooking at a medium boil, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour or until the pigeon peas are barely tender. Add the chopped large bell peppers. Drain the potatoes and plantains and add them to the pot. Cover and continue cooking for about 30 minutes until the pigeon peas, potatoes, and plantains are soft. Stir in the cooked rice. Taste for seasonings.

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