Asopao (Puerto Rican Pigeon Pea Soup)

Asopao is a traditional Puerto Rican soup usually made with chicken or shrimp plus pigeon peas, or at least, that’s how it’s done in my family; like so many other homestyle dishes, there are as many recipes as chefs.  Since  Mr. Lauralicious doesn’t do the meat thing, I make it with pigeon peas only and omit the chicken or shrimp, but feel free to add either of these if you want.

It’s best made the day before you plan to eat, but I usually cook it on weekend mornings and then reheat it at night.

To make your own, you’ll need:

  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 4 or more cloves of garlic, minced (I use about eight, but I do loves me the garlic)
  • 2-3 tablespoons recaito (Goya makes a good one that can be found in the Latin or ethnic food aisles; if not, you can make your own like so.  Also, my mother would NEVER add this to her asopao, but since I don’t add chicken I think it needs the flavor hit.  I never disobey my mamacita unless there’s a very good reason.)
  • 1 can pigeon peas (from the same Goya aisle, or try the frozen food section for frozen ones in a bag)
  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin (I get the traditional West Indian pumpkin here; acorn or butternut squash will work just as well)
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1-2 tsps oregano
  • 1 or 2 packets sazon (again with the Goya)-optional, but gives a nice zing
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I use two broth cubes dissolved in two cups of water)

To get your soup on:

Sauté the onion, garlic and green pepper until translucent in a large saucepan or a soup pot.  Add the recaito, stirring for a few seconds, then add the rest of the ingredients and water to give you a medium-thick brothy soup.  Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour.  When you’re ready to eat, season with a squeeze of lemon, add in some pre-cooked warmed rice if  you have it on hand, and get your munch on.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, I swear I’m not on the Goya payroll!  But their products happen to be the bomb diggity, and my life is better for their adobo (or Magic Puerto Rican Powder).  To wit, check out the finished asopao:

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