Asopao de Camarones, or Puerto Rican shrimp soup for the uninitiated, is reminiscent of a balmy afternoon on Puerto Rican beaches, resounding with familiar Salsa tunes. It’s an aromatic blend of juicy shrimp, firm grains of rice, plump tomatoes, and a medley of local herbs and spices that encapsulates the very soul of the island in each ladleful.
What is Asopao de Camarones?
Asopao de Camarones is a delicious Puerto Rican dish that can be described as a cross between a soup and a stew. It typically features shrimp as the main protein and is cooked with a flavorful broth, rice, vegetables, and various spices. The dish is known for its rich and comforting taste, making it a popular choice in Puerto Rican cuisine.
- 1 lb (450g) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh culantro (or substitute with another 1/4 cup cilantro)
- 2 cups (14 oz./400g) canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup (120ml) white wine or beer (optional)
- 6 cups (1.4L) chicken broth or fish stock
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) uncooked medium-grain or short-grain rice
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./113g) pimientos or roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
How to make Asopao De Camarones
- Prepare the sofrito base: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, red and green bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, and culantro. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, around 5-7 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and seasonings: Stir in the crushed tomatoes, cumin, and oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- Deglaze with wine (optional): If using wine or beer, pour it in, stirring to combine, and allow it to simmer for about 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
- Add the broth and rice: Pour in the chicken broth or fish stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the uncooked rice, stirring well to make sure it’s well-distributed throughout the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the shrimp: Add the peeled and deveined shrimp to the pot, distributing them evenly. Cover and continue to simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the shrimp is opaque and cooked through and the rice is tender.
- Stir in the pimientos: Lastly, gently mix in the chopped pimientos or roasted red peppers and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve and enjoy: Ladle the Asopao de Camarones into bowls, garnishing with extra cilantro or pimientos if desired. Serve hot, accompanied by a fresh green salad and crusty bread.
Tips to Perfect Your Asopao de Camarones
- Marinate the shrimp: Enhance the flavor of the shrimp by marinating it for at least 20 minutes before cooking. You can use a blend of lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Customize the protein: You can experiment with different types of protein – chicken, fish, or a combination – for a unique twist on the traditional recipe.
- Add heat if you like: If you prefer a spicier dish, add a few dashes of hot sauce or include some finely chopped jalapeno or habanero pepper along with the sofrito base.
What to serve with
This dish is a hearty and flavorful dish that can be served on its own or with a few accompaniments to enhance the dining experience.
- Avocado Slices or Guacamole: The creamy texture of avocado complements the rich flavors of the asopao. You can serve it as slices on the side or prepare a simple guacamole with lime juice, salt, and cilantro.
- Fried Plantains (Tostones or Maduros): Plantains add a sweet and savory element to the meal. Tostones (twice-fried green plantains) or maduros (sweet, ripe plantains) are both excellent choices.
- Cilantro and Lime Wedges: Fresh cilantro adds a burst of herbaceous flavor, and lime wedges can be squeezed over the asopao for a citrusy kick.
- Crusty Bread or Rice: Serve the asopao with crusty bread to mop up the delicious broth, or you can have it over a bed of rice for a heartier meal.
- Hot Sauce or Salsa: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, provide hot sauce or a spicy salsa on the side.
- Ceviche: A light and refreshing ceviche can be a great appetizer or side dish to balance the richness of the asopao. It also complements the seafood theme.
- Side Salad: A simple side salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette can add a refreshing contrast to the warm and savory asopao.
- Sofrito Sauce: Sofrito is a flavorful sauce made with ingredients like tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and herbs. It can be served on the side for those who want to add extra depth to their dish.
Can I use frozen shrimp for this Asopao de Camarones recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use frozen shrimp for the Asopao de Camarones recipe. Ensure that you thaw the shrimp properly before adding it to the pot. To thaw, place the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. Change the water once or twice if needed. Once thawed, peel and devein the shrimp as per the recipe instructions.
What can I do if my Asopao is too watery or too thick?
The consistency of Asopao de Camarones can vary depending on personal preference. If your Asopao turns out too watery, you can thicken it by allowing it to simmer uncovered for a few minutes. This will help some of the excess liquid to evaporate. Alternatively, you can add a cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water mixed) to thicken the broth to your desired consistency.
If your Asopao is too thick, simply add more chicken broth or fish stock and stir until you achieve the desired consistency. Remember to adjust the seasoning as needed after adding more liquid.
Can I make Asopao de Camarones ahead of time and reheat it later?
Yes, you can make Asopao de Camarones ahead of time and reheat it later. Keep in mind that as it sits, the rice will absorb more liquid, causing the soup to thicken. When you reheat it, you may need to add extra chicken broth or fish stock to adjust the consistency to your liking.
To reheat, transfer the Asopao to a pot, add the additional liquid if needed, and warm it over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Make sure it’s heated through before serving.
If you’re looking for an interesting and tasty recipe, look no further. This is a much-loved asopao de Camarones recipe that combines Spanish ingredients with some Asian flavors. You can’t go wrong with this one!