Asopao de camarones (Shrimp & rice stew)
So even in the hot summer nights sometimes we need something comforting after a super long day, this dish is perfect for that. Asopao is a rice soup. It is made with either chicken, pork, beef, seafood or vegetables.
The origin of asopao is unclear but rice in soup isn’t unfamiliar and can be traced back before the Americans harvest rice. Rice soup can be traced back to Asia known as congee. Latin and Caribbean asopao is not as thick as congee.
Asopao is Puerto Rico’s national soup. Asopao first appeared in the 1800s in restaurants in Puerto Rico. From there it has been a great phenomenon in most Puerto Rican restaurants, big and small. Most chefs even have their own recipe for asopao. Puerto Rican asopao has been said to be a cross from American gumbo and Spanish paella. First noted recipe are a mixture of rice, chicken, chorizo, shellfish, alcaparrado (stuffed olives and capers), white wine, sofrito and garnished with green peas and finally diced carrots. Most popular asopaos are asopao de pollo (chicken asopao) and asopao de mariscos (shellfish asopao) made with saffron broth, scallops, mussels, shrimp, lobster, clams and oysters.
Asopao to many Dominicans would consider heresy to label it as a foreign import. The dish is usually prepared on special occasions, such as birthdays. The soup is usually cooked with chicken or shrimp. Asopao in the Dominican Republic is almost ever time cooked with beer, sofrito, bouillon cubes, olives, capers and sour orange.
You can substitute the shrimp for any other type of meat: smoked pork, chicken, beef, fish or you can add your favorite veggies and make it and all veggies stew. Pair with crispy tostones and cold beer!
- 1 Cup rice
- 1 White onion, diced
- 1 Red bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 1 Cup tomatoes, diced
- 1 Cup squash, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 Cups vegetable broth
- 1 Pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
- 2 Tablespoons capers
- 1 Cup beer
- 1 Cup corn kernels, roasted
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the onion, pepper, garlic and make a sauce, cook for about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup diced tomato, squash, carrots and the capers stir until well combined and bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the rice and 4 cups broth. Bring the broth to a boil and add the shrimp.
Cook over a medium heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the beer and the cilantro and cook until rice is tender and is similar to a "risotto" but with more soupy consistency (Like Gumbo).