Cuban soup is an interesting and flavorful combination of spices and ingredients derived from Spanish and African cuisines with slight Caribbean influences. The Chinese influence on the Cuban soups and other dishes is also noteworthy.
Soups and stews are widely served in Cuban meals that are traditionally consumed with steamed white rice, although Cuban soups are great serve by itself. Corn soup, caldosa, black bean soup and white bean Spanish soup are some of the popular soups in Cuba.
History of Cuban Soups
As a result of Cuban colonization by Spain, the influence of Spanish cuisine had largely affected the Cuban cooking. Africans, who were brought to Cuba as slaves, introduced several ingredients and spices to Cuban cooking and later these ingredients became the indispensable part of Cuban soups and other dishes.
Dutch and French cooking had also contributed to the Cuban cuisine and most of the ingredients including meats, spices, herbs and vegetables are still flavoring the Cuban soup recipes.
Cuban Soups: Ingredients and Preparation Overview
Rice and bean are the vital ingredients of Cuban soups and other dishes and both these ingredients are either cooked together or apart to make some hearty and nutritional soups. Plenty of tubers such as potato, plantains, yucca and malanga form the base of the soups. Even corn is also an essential ingredient in Cuban soups.
Vegetables like cucumber, tomato, cabbage, onion and carrot are widely used to make cold as well as hot soup in combination with meats mainly beef and pork. Garlic, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper are the typical seasonings and flavorings in any Cuban soup.
Preparation of soups in Cuban cuisine involves the simple and typical procedures like boiling and simmering. Meats and vegetables are cut into chunks and stir fried in hot oil or lard until browned. Garlic, bay leaf and other flavorings and seasonings are added to the stir fried vegetables and meats and followed by the addition of water or stock. All the ingredients are then simmered until tender and completely cooked. In some soups, instead of adding meat and vegetable chunks, the stock is only added and served with grated cheese and French bread.
Popular Cuban Soup Recipes
- Black bean soup – This is the traditional Cuban soup that has been the part of modern Cuban cuisine. Onion, bay leaf and garlic are generally used to flavor the simmered black beans. This soup is traditionally consumed with rice.
- Cuban garlic soup – Chicken broth is usually flavored with minced garlic and seasonings to make a light yet nutritious soup. The soup is served on top of French bread with some grated cheese.