Chicken and Plantain Dumpling Soup (Caldo de Bolas)

By • July 17, 2012 1 Comments

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Author Notes: It started with a ripe plantain. I had intentions of frying it with black beans but then I saw the zucchini and kale I had plucked from the garden and decided on a soup. I've made a couple versions of this Ecuadorian soup and love all the flavors. Typically you make dumplings of the mashed plantains stuffed with beef, sofrito, peanut butter, raisins and cilantro and gently simmer them in a very flavorful beef and tomato broth. I wanted to lighten it up a bit and decided to use chicken, minimizing the tomato, but aiming to keep the flavor punch. The dumplings can be tricky and need to be handled carefully, but even if they fall apart in the soup, they all taste good together. I added some flour to mine to help them stay together. savorthis

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Serves 6

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 leeks (I usually use the light green to darker green parts I have previously frozen, but two small leeks chopped work too)
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks (I am allergic so I use fennel stalks which are also good)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 sprigs each parsley and cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 2 medium onions, 1 quartered, 1 finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can tomatoes (I use fire roasted)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 ounce raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon each cumin and coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed, thinly sliced
  • lime, cilantro and jalapeno for garnish
  1. Place chicken, leeks, carrots, quartered onion, celery (or fennel), cilantro, parsley and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour skimming any foam that surfaces. Remove chicken to a bowl and maintain simmer while preparing the filling. Place the plantains into the broth and simmer about 15-30 minutes until tender.
  2. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove all meat to a bowl and return bones, skin and wings to soup and simmer another hour. Then strain and skim soup and set aside. Chop the meat of one breast and one leg. Reserve remaining chicken for another use.
  3. Saute green pepper and diced onion in 2 T oil until starting to brown. Add garlic and cook another minute. Remove half of mixture to a bowl and set aside. Add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (and juice) to pan and strain remaining tomatoes over a bowl. Stir chopped chicken, raisins, peanut butter, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and 1/2 cup broth from soup into pan. Stir until thickened. Cool.
  4. Mash plantains until fairly smooth and stir in egg and enough flour to hold together. Take a piece of dough a little smaller than a golf ball, flatten a bit and stuff 1 T of filling into the center. Push the filling down gently while you fold up the edges of dough to encase the filling in a ball. Complete with all dough. You will have some filling left over.
  5. Heat soup pot again ove medium high heat and add reserved pepper and onion, zucchini and kale. Stir until just starting to brown. Add chicken broth, strained tomatoes and season to taste with salt. Heat to simmer then very gently lower dumplings into soup. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes until dumplings float. Ladle into bowls and garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, and jalapeno slices (the added heat is nice).

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