Asopao de Gandules con Bolitas de Plátano

Bolitas de plátano

2 large green plantains, peeled and shredded in food processor

1/4 tsp. crushed garlic
dash of salt

2 cans gandules
2 quarts chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup diced cooking ham
½ cup sofrito
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups short-grain rice
½ pound West Indian pumpkin, peeled and diced
1/2 tablespoon salt, or to taste
olives and capers
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Form dumplings from 1/2 tablespoonfuls of shredded plantain, garlic, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large caldero, combine the gandules and the stock. Heat until boiling.

While the stock and gandules boil, fry the ham in the oil for a few minutes, then add the sofrito and cook about 4 more minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the ham and sofrito and the rest of the ingredients to the stock and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the soup has thickened. Add the cilantro just before serving.

Asopao is a thick soup - just perfect for February's cold temperature.