Cuban Mariners Soup/ Sopa Marinera Cubana

Juliann Esquivel


This soup is my own version of Cuban Sopa de Mariscos, Cuban Fish & Shellfish Soup. My husband is an avid fisherman. He is always out on the water fishing every spare moment he has. Since he is retired he is always "gone fishing". Being a very good fisherman he always brings great catches, of fish, and shellfish. One afternoon I decided to make a soup of veggies, shellfish and fish. We lived in New Jersey at the time and my husband had brought me streamers of mussels Crab and fish. Thus I made my own version of the soup with Cuban spices, my husband and family loved it. I named it Cuban Mariners Soup after my husband who was always out on the ocean fishing. What ever shellfish or fish I had on hand it went into the pot. When ever my husband caught a really big fish He would cut the head off clean it, remove the gills and I would cook it and then strain it. The best soups are made using the fishes head but everthing must be strained with a good sieve or through a cheesecloth. Here is one of my recipes. Enjoy


★★★★★ 1 vote

6 to 8
30 Min
1 Hr
Stove Top


  • 1 pkg
    frozen seafood mix, cuttle fish, shrimp, scallops, octopus, squid or any seafood mix
  • 1 pkg
    about 3 dozen large or medium mussels, cleaned and debreded
  • 3 large
    fillets flounder or any fresh white fleshed fish. check to see that thee are no bones, cut in nice chunks
  • 1 large
    fresh fish head if available, cleaned and gills removed. do not use any oily fish only white fleshed fish.
  • 2 lb
    large fresh shrimp shelled cleaned and de-veined, save shells to make broth
  • 1 large
    onion diced small
  • 1 pkg
    carrots peeled and cut in bite sized pieces
  • 2 large
    stalks celery rinsed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 large
    red potatoes peeled and cut in cubes or small pieces
  • 1 large
    can diced tomatos in their juice
  • 4 clove
    garlic mashed or put through a garlic press
  • 1/4 c
    diced fresh curly parsley
  • 1/4 c
    fresh diced cilantro
  • 2 c
    fresh corn scraped from the cob or frozen corn
  • 2 large
    bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp
    garlic powder
  • 1 tsp
    old bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp
    asian fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp
    sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground black pepper
  • 2 small
    envelopes goya sazon seasoning with culantro and achiote
  • 1 tsp
    bijol cuban yellow food colloring or saffron strands if available
  • 1/2 c
    olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 stick
  • 1/2 large
    diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 large
    diced red sweet pimento pepper or red bell pepper diced small
  • 1/2 c
    any good white table wine

How to Make Cuban Mariners Soup/ Sopa Marinera Cubana


  1. First if you have a fish head cover in cold water add the shrimp shells put half teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. When fish statrs to boil reduce heat and simmer for one hour. After one hour remove from heat let cool and remove head from the broth. Strain the shells from the broth set broth aside. Discard the shrimp shells. When the fish head has cooled pick the firm white meat from the cheeks of the fish. You must scrape back the skin to get to the firm white fish meat. There are pockets of meat in the cheeks and the top of the fish head. There is also firm white meat in the flaps under the cheeks. All of the meat in the head does not contain any bones. There is however if the head is large you will find large fish bones near the flap meat. These can be seen very well as the bones tend to be very large. Pick the head clean of all the white meat then discard the head. Set the fish meat aside.
  2. In another big heavy pot heat the olive oil and the butter together. Now add the diced onions, green pepper, red pepper, fresh garlic, parsley, and cilantro. Saute the veggies in the oil and butter until the onion is limp. Now add the celery, carrots, potatoes, corn and saute for about five minutes. Now add the wine, the fish sauce, can of diced tomatos, and the seasonings. Salt, pepper, garlic powdeer, bay leaves, Goya Sazon packets, the Bijol or yellow food colloring or if not available a few strands of Saffron or azafran as called in Spanish and the Old Bay seasoning. Saute and stir constantly for about three more minutes.`
  3. Next pour in the fish broth stir well and cover and bring to a boil. When the broth begins to boil lower the heat and simmer. While the veggies are simmering in the broth. Take your Seafood mix and rinse in cold water. In a skillet add a little more olive oil and saute the mixed seafood for about 8 minutes. Now add to the simmering broth cover and cook for about 30 minutes. Broth should be on a medium flame and simmering. After the half hour has passed check veggies carrots & potaotes to see if they are fork tender. If the veggies are done go to the next step.
  4. If the veggies are tender add the washed and rinsed mussels, cutup pieces of fish and the shrimp. Cook for three minutes more and turn off heat. Leave the shrimp and mussels in the hot broth for five minutes. Taste the soup to see if the seasonings are right. It may need a little more salt. Give it a gentle stir and add the cooked fish head meat gently last Do not stir or the meat will break up as it is very fragile. Ladle soup into big bowls and serve with wedges of lemon or lime and oven roasted garlic toast or Texas toast. Enjoy

Printable Recipe Card

About Cuban Mariners Soup/ Sopa Marinera Cubana

Main Ingredient: Seafood
Regional Style: Cuban
Dietary Needs: Vegetarian
Other Tag: Healthy

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