Sopas: Tasty and Affordable

By Gladys Colon, September 20, 2012
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They don’t sacrifice flavor!
Sopas help you save money, but unlike with other budget meals, they don’t scrimp on taste. Because sopa recipes usually rely on inexpensive but flavorful ingredients like tomatoes, onions and other vegetables, pasta or potatoes, beans, herbs, water and meat or chicken (almost anything goes!), and create large amounts of food that can serve many for mere cents per serving. What’s more, a sopa is a whole meal to itself, so aside from a little bread or rice, you don’t need to cook anything else.

They make great leftovers!
Unlike a lot of other dishes, most sopas stand up well to freezing without losing flavor. To prepare the dish for freezing, cook it well and let it cool to room temperature. Seal with a tight lid to prevent freezer-burn. Consider freezing it in serving size-portions so you can defrost and enjoy only what you need.

Great for any occasion!
No doubt the soups are perfect for anytime — to accompany a sandwich, a small meal, or for dinner as a main course. Because they are so popular, no one will balk if brought out to the table at a big family get together. As my grandmother Maximiliana says “una sopa nunca cae mal y siempre saca de apuros.” That means that it’s a great go-to dish and a lifesaver!

Easy to make!
In the past, the preparation of sopas entailed long hours peeling vegetables, cleaning and cooking the meat, skimming grease from the broth, and required constant monitoring. Today, a delicious sopa can take a fraction of the time by using pre-packaged and frozen ingredients. It takes only minutes for many frozen ingredients to cook.

Sopas are great, inexpensive meals that combine the rich taste of home with the warmth of a carefully prepared meal.

popped Gladys Colon
Growing up on a Caribbean island like Puerto Rico—a place where eating and celebrating go hand in hand—is synonymous with taste and joy. There, I learned from my Grandma Ana to make her famous sofrito criollo, a seasoning mix I use in everything I cook. She also taught me how to make the most of tropical fruit flavors like mango and passion fruit. I’ve always been interested in traveling and experiencing other cultures. I’ve visited Central and South America, Europe and Asia—and food was the first thing I focused on, because it helps you become familiar with the people, their tastes and their customs. From Roatán to Istanbul, I’ve collected a world of recipes. Through my work as a writer, I’ve depicted the places and aromas I experienced.