Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sopas for a Rainy Day

One of my friends warned me that a storm was coming to Korea. Sure enough, it did and arrived at midnight. That morning,  I kept our youngest son from going to his elementary school (and sent the teacher a text message why). I looked inside the fridge and saw I had chicken pieces, some veggies, and milk. Ahhh, time for Sopas.

In my country, rainy days means hearty soups for afternoon snack after school. It can be savory like Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge) or sweet, Guinataan (Sweetened Fruits and Root crops in Coconut Milk). And then, there is Sopas. Sopas, literally means soup in Filipino and Spanish (yup, our colonial ancestors brought it to us) and is usually a savory chicken soup with pasta and diced vegetables with a milk broth.

Here is my version of the Sopas.

250 grams of chicken meat (1/4 kilo of meat, either with bone or plain meat)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 carrots, diced
1 stem of celery, diced
1 large potato or 2 medium ones, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon oil
2 cups pasta, you can use any kind tht is small (macaroni, penne, spiral, etc. I used spaghetti which I broke into 1-inch long pieces)
6-8 cups of chicken broth (or 6-8 cups of water plus a chicken bouillon cube)
2 cups of milk

1. In a large wok or heavy bottom pot, add your oil. Heat until it is hot and add your garlic and onions. Saute them until their fragrance fills the room (the garlic will be golden brown while the onions will be translucent).

2. Add your diced carrots and saute for about 3 minutes. Add your chicken pieces now if they cut-up with bone still in them. Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of salt. If you have shredded chicken meat, add that later. Saute until the chicken pieces are slightly cooked (they would look white and not raw).

3. Add your celery and saute for about 1 minute more. Now it's time to add the broth/water. First add a cup to the wok/pot. Stir the bottom, scraping it so that all the crunchy bits that are sticking gets mixed. This will add flavor to your soup. Now add the rest of the water/broth.

4. Bring the pot to a boil, when scum rises, try to skim all of it off. This will make your soup look cloudy and dirty. Keep skimming the scum that floats up. Lower the heat to medium and add the pasta. Stir every now and then so that the pasta won't clump up.

5. Continue simmering the soup until the pasta is half-cooked. Add the diced potatoes. Add another 1/2 tablespoon of salt, a sprinkling of pepper and chopped herbs of your choice (it can be dried parsley, dried oregano, dried sage... in this recipe, I used dried tarragon because I wanted to try it - it worked out great!)

6. Simmer until the pasta and potatoes get cooked really well. Add a cup of water or broth if the soup seems to be drying up. When the pasta and potatoes are done, add your milk. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the stove. Serve the soup hot with crusty bread or garlic toast.


1. This can be your clean-out-your-fridge soup. I have been known to put chopped ham, diced hotdogs/sausages, diced hardboiled eggs in the soup.

2. When using herbs, stick to one. For this soup I used tarragon. Another great herb to use is parsley.

3. The diced veggies you can add is unlimited. You can add zucchinis, mushrooms, squash (my mom did this all the time), etc.