Eat Like an Immigrant: Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup

Attention gringas/gringos, this super easy recipe from a lazy Latina will cure your bland diet — but only if you eat it LOUDLY!

In the first installment of my regular “Eat Like An Immigrant” series, we have Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup!!!

Yes, it’s Cuban… Specifically CUBAN, and it is a Citrus Chicken Soup… And NO, it won’t taste like ‘the other chicken soup’, because it has a massive amount of fresh citrus in the broth, and Hearts Of Palm and garlic and red pepper… So it does not taste anything like that lame, white person, salted, liquid chicken! (Stop eating that!)

If you are a Gringa/o, I just want to emotionally prepare you, up front… There are NO celery stalks in this soup recipe.

You will be OK. I think.

If you already feel lightheaded, you might want to stop reading this. But, if you stop reading this now, you’re are going to miss out on the cure for your lightheadedness… So, I’d suggest that you hang in there, and stay with me, even if you have to white-knuckle it… No pun intended!

This is a VERY good, VERY healthy Cuban soup, and it cures ALL illness. So, if you have a sick loved one, like I do, force feed this soup to them, with a large, rubber tube (you can go through the nose, if you have to), and you will be bloody STUNNED by how quickly they INSIST they have fully recovered!!!

First, roast a chicken (or buy one already roasted… yup, I totally bought one), and make a bit of rice, egg noodle, or pasta… I went with red pepper penne this time, because I’m a fancy Cubana, but you can use anything you want. You don’t need much of it at all. A couple of handfuls are really all you put into the soup – be sure NOT to over cook it, or it will turn to mush later in the process.

(You can also add potato if you prefer it to rice or pasta or noodle, but make sure they are very small, cut into quarters, and added with the broth in the very beginning so that they cook through. Super Sexy Hot Cubana Special Tip: Canned potato is your best friend here. Yes, canned. Yes, seriously. Piss off, because I’ve already told you that I’m lazy… Respect my Latin culture, and just bloody try it! Anyway, you can’t tell me that white people don’t buy canned potatoes. I watch you people, in the Roxborough Shoprite!)

OK… Start with the broth: chicken stock, veggie stock, water (if you use those weird little cubes, rather than buying actual broth, use less water than the stock cubes require, because you are using other liquids), fresh orange juice with pulp (you can squeeze tangerines and oranges if you really want too, but just know that I will be laughing AT you), garlic (lazy or powder, duh, of course), red pepper (I use the lazy red pepper, for obvious reasons), salt (go easy on the salt because the broth is already salty), black pepper, juice from at least four lemons and four limes, or at least six, if they are small (you can totally use the tacky stuff in the bottle, like I do – it’s in the Goya section), and FRESH Cilantro – NOT the stems! Then, bring all of that to a small, quick boil…

You’ll know it is ready when it starts to look more like actual food, and less like a frightening voodoo potion, originating from a small, tropical island in the Caribbean.

Then, turn the heat down a bit, and add, in the order listed:

  • carrots and okra (they take longer to cook so add them first, or buy it in a can!),
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • red kidney beans (in a can!)
  • garbanzo beans (sorry, white people, I mean Chick Peas)
  • tomato (the cute little ones, and stick you thumb into them before you toss them in – but you can also… Yup, you guessed it… use canned tomatoes! I like the fire roasted garlic ones)
  • sliced hearts of palm (do not panic, it comes in a can… Google it, you’ll see!)
  • sliced pineapple (ohmygawd, even that comes in a can!).

Then, shred the chicken – white meat only please, and no freakin’ skin or bones go into the pot – and I’m going to have to ask you to really smash that chicken – get your fingers all the way in there – I realize that this might be uncomfortable for many of you, but you can use the same motions that you see your dog groomer use, when they’re giving your Labradootle a bath!

Add the extremely shredded chicken to the whole, weird looking mess that you’ve already tossed into the pot.

You can now wash your hands with a pea-sized amount of your organic, sulfate free, maple scented soap, purchased for $150, at that new, trendy little boutique in Manayunk!

Feeling brave yet? Toss in a can of yellow corn! (Not that ‘creamed’ corn goo, that you easily sunburnt people think is edible – Just use regular corn, OK?!)

Then, if you have cooked rice or pasta or noodles, which you should have… Toss that in!

Boil that colorful concoction for three to five minutes. Covered!

Lift the lid… Stir.

Taste.

Are your blue eyes tearing? No?! Not good enough! Add more lemon, lime, garlic, salt, red pepper, black pepper, orange juice, and cilantro!

Boil that colorful concoction for two more minutes. Covered!

Lift the lid… Stir.

Taste.

BETTER, RIGHT?! Those are tears of joy!

Then, EAT that Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup, while it is piping freakin’ hot! Eat it NOW, because the moment anyone else smells it, it’ll be GONE!

As this is specifically Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup, you will also need to embrace a Cuban tradition… You will need to eat it while yelling at your family members, especially the one who was ill, about anything, even if it is only about the weather… But, this yelling must be done loud enough to frighten the neighbors!

Otherwise, you’re just not going to enjoy this CUBAN Citrus Chicken Soup to its fullest potential.

Trust me… I am a Cuban…

YELLING!!!!!!!!!! ENHANCES!!!!!!!!!! THE FLAVOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If someone is really sick, like too sick to eat, and you don’t want to be rude (because you’re white) by shoving a large rubber tube down their nostril… Get your sports themed beer funnel (I know you all have one), so that you can go through the mouth, and just keep pouring it into the sick person! Make sure someone else holds them down, so you don’t get it into their eyes – after all, it is citrus, and even by Cuban mom’s standards, that might be considered a little bit sadistic…

OK, after about four to seven minutes of being forced-funnel-fed (Go Eagles!), every sickly person of any nationality, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity, who WAS sick, always screams, ‘I’M CURED! I’M CURED AND I FEEL BETTER! I FEEL GREAT!’

This is how I know it really, really works!

As a lifelong Cuban, I can assure you that I HAVE PERSONALLY CURED MANY PEOPLE THIS WAY!!!

I’m about to cure my English husband with my Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup, right now! Well, as soon as I can find him… Just the smell of my Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup gives him a sudden burst of energy! He’s no longer moaning and sniffling on our sofa!

See?! IT IS ALREADY WORKING.

Vegans and vegetarians: I got you, because I’m inclusive! Don’t put the chicken broth or the chicken in the pot, because you don’t eat chicken! Follow the rest of recipe! Funnels ARE non-animal products, so EVERYTHING else stays the same (Go Eagles! Wait, I mean… Free the Eagles?!).

Disclaimer: No Cuban that I’ve ever met has admitted to having heard of this Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup. But, ignore that, because white people will always tell you that Cubans are all a little crazy, so whatever we say… Even to each other… Doesn’t really mean anything.

If you are a person of the Sunblock Persuasion, and anyone, but especially a Cuban, starts kicking-off at you about your Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup, just YELL over them, and they will assume you ARE a Cuban, and then, they will love your Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup! Just culturally appropriate!

Actually, now that I think about it, if you’re named something like Sloan, or Tarquin, and you’re inviting actual Cubans over for some of your delicious Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup, you might want to pick up a few extra funnels, so that everyone has one…

Try to be egalitarian about it even though that goes against everything you’ve even been taught by our White Supremacist Society… But, do not be ‘too egalitarian’ with the white people beer funnels, because the Patriots suck – so, stick with the Eagles logos! My point is: Everybody gets a funnel. Because, Equality Matters!

I give you this life saving liquid, my family recipe for Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup, out of the goodness of my Latina heart, but I have one, small request in return… Make the soup, and then…add your comments below… LET ME KNOW if this non-white, colorful, loud, sexy, lazy, spicy, CURATIVE Cuban Citrus Chicken Soup… ALSO CURES RACISM, AND BIGOTRY!!!

(Oops, did I unintentionally offend someone, with my cultural assumptions? Apologies… Can I make it up to you? I want you to feel better… I’ve got an extra Eagles funnel… Quieres un poco de Sopa Cubana? My place or yours?)

Lara is a middle aged, neurotic writer and a performer, originally from New York City. Lara has written for, and performed in, a number of national and international theatre productions, and she is a regular participant of live storytelling events in New York, London, and Philadelphia. She is a Smith College graduate, menopausal, and a feminist. Lara is represented by the literary agency Chalberg & Sussman, for whom, between hot flashes, she is writing a memoir about her demented childhood. In her free time, she relaxes by sharing her humiliating life experiences on her Facebook page. In 2016, Lara, her two cats and her English husband, moved from Europe to Philadelphia, for the pretzels. (She relocated to the Falls in March 2018). Sometimes, she’s funny.

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