Delicious and creamy plantain soup recipe from Curaçao
The very first time I ate plantain soup was at De Gouverneur in Willemstad. I had heard good stories about it and when I saw it on the menu, of course I had to order it. And wow, it definitely did not disappoint.
You might think of plantain soup (or sopa de platano) as being sweet, but that is not true. This is a savory soup and the soup is not made from regular bananas but from plantains. These are of course a lot less sweet than our standard banana.
You can usually find plantains in the Netherlands in a toko, but also the better sorted supermarket often has them. What you need to know – and this is always a risk when ordering online – is that you prefer the plantains to be black. Ripe plantains that is. Green plantains are not what you want in this case.
So unlike the regular banana, a black plantain is exactly what you want. For serving it is nice to have a few additional pieces so you can have some fried plantain chips on top of the soup. Totally optional but a nice to have. I only had four plantains so nothing leftover.
Making the plantain soup
Making the plantain soup is not complicated, although it does take some time.
To make the plantain soup, start with a large soup pot (a Dutch oven or heavy pot will do). The recipe below makes enough for about 6-8 people. The soup is quite filling so can function perfectly well as a complete meal. I ate it as an evening meal with a slice of bread on the side.
Cooking the plantains
You start by adding some olive oil to your soup pot. Make sure to have the pan on medium heat and add the onions, garlic cloves, carrots, celery and the plantains. I use plantain slices. Obviously you remove the outer skin and cut them into slices. Once you have added the vegetables you can add the bay leaf and other herbs. Add the chicken broth, beef stock or vegetable broth and increase the heat to medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Now let it simmer for about an hour or until all the vegetables including the plantains are soft. It’s a relatively long time for a soup but you need the time to cook the plantains. I used chicken stock here. That is not necessary but I like the flavor of the chicken more then vegetable stock but if you want to keep it veggie, go for the latter.
Once all the vegetables are cooked you remove the bay leaf and the rosemary and thyme (if you can find it) Using an immersion blender you puree the soup at this stage until it is smooth. You can use a food processor to do the same, but I always think it’s easiest with an immersion blender.
At this point you add in the cream (double cream and coconut cream) and the orange juice. The soup may be a bit thick, in which case you can add more liquid. Ad as much liquid as you like. Remember that once the soup cools down it will thicken considerably. Reheating it might also need some extra cream. I like to use extra coconut milk for that.
With or without chili
If you want to make the soup the way it should be, cook a Scotch Bonnet in the soup. This is easy if you stick it on a skewer and take it out after half an hour or so. The longer you leave the chili in, the spicier the soup becomes. Alternatively, of course, you can use a regular red chili in it. That one is a lot less spicy. Or just use some black pepper as an alternative. I couldn’t find any Scotch Bonnet or anything close to that so I just left it out and use a bit of chili powder.
You can freshen the soup a little bit with some lime juice if you want.
It’s an absolutely delicious soup and while I have found it in Curaçao you can also find plantain soup in Puerto Rico or Cuba. I don’t know if Cuban plantain soup would be the same and I’m guessing there are subtle differences in the various latin american countries.
Serve this easy recipe with some fresh cilantro. It’s definitely one of my favorite soup recipes.
- 50 gr butter
- 4 ripe plantains black, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 100 gr leek coarsely chopped
- 150 gr carrot coarsely chopped
- 75 gr red onion chopped
- 1250 ml water
- 25 gr chicken stock powder
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sugar
- 175 ml whipping cream
- 175 ml coconut milk
- 175 ml orange juice
- salt and pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet optional
- Melt the butter in a large soup pan over medium heat and add the plantains, leeks, carrot, onion and celery. Let the vegetables sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally in the meantime.
- You can cook with the 1 scotch bonnet pepper. If so, leave it whole and skewer it on a stick that you stick into the soup. Alternative is a madame Jeanette
- Add water, chicken broth powder, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, spices, sugar and chili. Stir well and bring to a boil. Turn on low and simmer gently for about an hour. Remove from heat and remove rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and the chili. Puree with a hand blender. Add the cream, coconut milk and orange juice and stir well. Return to heat and let warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with a fried banana (plaintain chip) and fresh parsley.
The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.