Caribbean Chicken Soup

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Last Updated on May 19, 2020 by Chef Mireille

Mom’s Caribbean Chicken Soup

Caribbean Style Chicken Soup is very thick and closer to what most other people might refer to as a stew. The broth is made with pumpkin puree, so this is gluten free and dairy free.

Every culture in the world has some form of chicken soup. In fact, in Jewish cultures, it is referred to as Mom’s penicillin.

If you are used to American or western style Chicken Soups, you are going to find the Caribbean version very different. Instead of a thin brothy soup with chicken and noodles/rice and/or vegetables, this is a thick and hearty almost stew like consistency with filling root vegetables.

Before I get to the recipe, let’s talk a little about the Caribbean.

Caribbean Geography

The Caribbean is comprised of a diverse set of islands. The similarities usually exist between the countries that were colonized by the same nation. Therefore, you may find foods ubiquitous on islands like Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire, all colonized by the Dutch.

You will find many similar foods on Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

The most similarities exist between English and French colonized islands, with a few exceptions. Trinidad and Jamaica have the largest Indian descended populations, so Indian influence is strongest on these two islands, but not non existent on the other English and French colonized islands either.

There is some form of curry on most English and French colonized islands, with the exception of Haiti. Since they share the same island of HIspanola with the Dominican Republic, their cuisine is quite unique, with a lot of influence from the other side of the island.

One of my pet peeves is that Jamaican’s often get all the credit for Caribbean Cuisine here in the United States. They are the largest Caribbean island with the largest population in the US.

The islands of the Lesser Antilles call their cuisine Antillean. This Antillean version of Caribbean Chicken Soup you will find very similar to the Jamaican Chicken Soup with recipes all over the internet, yet no one will be searching for Antillean Chicken Soup.

Therefore, I have to call it Caribbean Chicken Soup so that the people crawling the internet for this delicious soup recipe can find it!

With these traditional family recipes like my Mom’s Caribbean Chicken Soup, my goal is for Antillean Cuisine to become as popular as Jamaican here in the US.

This is my Antillean mom’s chicken soup recipe that I have been eating since I was a child. It’s thick and hearty and a meal all on it’s own.

Soup LR 1

What’s a Soup?

A few weeks ago there was a discussion in one of my facebook groups that focuses on discussing international food topics and culture. Someone posted an article debating whether soup can be a meal on its own without any accompaniments.

The question seemed so strange to me, as I grew up with Caribbean soups like this one as well as Caribbean Corn Soup and Soup Jou Mou, thick and hearty. There is no question that it can be a meal on its own.

In the Caribbean, soup is not a first course, but the meal!

On occasion, when I make pureed soups like this Celeriac Parsnip Soup and I share it with my Mom, she will be looking for something to put on the spoon. When she finally realizes it’s nothing but puree, she will remind me, “You know I still have all my teeth.”

In the Caribbean culture, the only people who eat puree soups are babies and elderly who no longer have teeth.

It was such an interesting discussion as to what different cultures call a soup.

When I posted a photo of this soup to the group, they all told me that really should be called a stew. Well, don’t tell my Mom that!

Now, before we get to the recipe, there’s a few recipe notes to highlight!

Recipe Notes

  • This chicken soup should be made with chicken on the bone. There is so much more flavor in the bones. The chicken is cooked for quite a long period of time that most of the meat will just fall off the bone anyway. Regardless, Caribbean people don’t mind getting their hands dirty eating the chicken off the bone.
  • Although I detailed in the ingredient list below which vegetables I utilized, most soups are made with a category of vegetables known in the Caribbean as ground provision. This can include any combination of potato, carrots, yam, breadfruit, green or ripe plantain, eddoe/colocassia/taro root, cassava/yuca, batata/sweet potato and/or green banana. Feel free to utilize whatever root vegetables are in your pantry. These vegetables can generally be found at Caribbean, Latin or Indian markets if your local supermarket does not carry them.
  • I used Kabocha pumpkin, but calabaza or even butternut squash could be substituted.
  • Cumin Powder – In this recipe, I used roasted cumin powder. It has a much smokier flavor profile than regular ground cumin powder. See link below to purchase online or you can easily make it yourself with whole cumin seeds. Simply roast in a dry skillet until the seeds become fragrant and start to change color. Grind to a powder using a coffee/spice grinder.
  • Cut the vegetables in varying sizes, according to their cooking time. For example, I cut the green plantain in half the size of the ripe plantain because they will take longer to cook.
  • This soup will thicken quickly as it chills. You will need to add additional water when reheating leftovers.

Although your family might call it a stew, I won’t tell my Mom and you can still enjoy this Caribbean Chicken Soup!

Soup LR 3

I know this soup is going to have you wanting to explore more Antillean recipes, so check these out!

Antillean Recipes

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Caribbean Chicken Soup

Antillean Style Caribbean Chicken Soup is filling and hearty, a meal on its own!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 336kcal
Author: Chef Mireille

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lbs. pumpkin kabocha or calabaza
  • 2 lbs. chicken pieces drumsticks and thighs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Scotch Bonnet pepper/Habanero split in half
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons roasted cumin powder
  • 4 skinny carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 potato chopped
  • 1 green plantain peeled and chopped
  • 1 ripe plantain peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

Instructions

  • Peel pumpkin and deseed. Cut into large pieces.
  • Combine pumpkin pieces in a large pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  • Boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Leave the pumpkin to cool for a few minutes.
  • Cut chicken pieces in half, using a meat cleaver or other strong knife that can cut through bone.
  • Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.
    Chicken Pieces for Caribbean Chicken Soup
  • Transfer pumpkin and all of the liquid to a blender and puree.
  • In the same pot, heat oil.
  • Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until the vegetables are softened.
  • Add chicken pieces and fry until it starts to brown.
    Frying Chicken for Caribbean Chicken Soup
  • Add pumpkin puree, 2 cups water, Scotch bonnet
    and thyme.
  • Add cumin powder.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add root vegetables and 2 cups more water. Bring to a boil.
    making Caribbean Chicken Soup
  • Reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  • Adjust salt as needed , parsley, and add lemon juice.
    Caribbean Chicken Soup

Notes

If you prefer your soup thinner, you can add more water as you like.

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 621mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 6658IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg
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About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Amara

    That’s a delicious looking chunky and creamy soup Mir. Loved your write up about what a soup is. I don’t like the pureed soups either.

  2. Tanja

    5 stars
    Ive made this soup twice for my family and its a total hit! I leave put the scotch bonnet For my little one and now my five-year old loves soup for the first time and asks for seconds ☺️.

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