I am reminiscing about our South American travels. What a wonderful trip we made this year! Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay…
So we went into this café, advertising Sopa de Paraguay and other local dishes outside. I could eat some soup! I tried ordering this Parguayan soup, but they didn’t have any soup, the owner of the café exclaimed! What is this soup I keep reading and hearing about, I exclaimed in return. He showed us this dish is nothing like a soup, more like a cornbread. Allright, now we got it! Turned out that the soup that wasn’t a soup tasted darn delicious and we ended up eating it numerous times, for lunch, as a snack or as a side dish during a real South-American parilla, aka enormous BBQ time!
They make all kinds of varieties, I think they just sneek in some leftover meat from last night’s parilla, or some fresh veggies they have lying around. It’s all good! They really do have wonderfull produce over there. And so much corn, it’s unbelievable. The basic version of sopa contains …. cheese! Perfect combo no?! You can eat it warm but it’s delicious as well the next day with some butter on it. (What is not delicious with butter I think….)
The recipe is for a medium tray. Sopa de Paraguay is something best shared with friends while grilling enormous amounts of meat, the Paraguayans feel. This recipe is for a slighty more managable amount. I did stick to the most basic version: The cheesy kind.
Ingredients – serves 4:
- 4 eggs – seperated
- 200 grams of fresh corn kernels (otherwise from a tin)
- 200 grams of fine polenta or cornmeal
- 150 ml of milk
- 150 grams cheese of your choice, grated. (Cheddar, Feta, Dutch Farmer’s Cheese, Swiss cheese… )
- A pinch of salt, pepper and cayennepepper
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 75 grams of soft butter
Finely chop the onion and bake in a tablespoon of butter until soft. Add a small pinch of salt, pepper and cayennepepper.
Mix the remaining butter with the onion and cheese in a bowl. For the cheese I used about 50 grams of crumbled feta and 100 grams of grated Dutch farmers Cheese. Other cheese will work nicely too. I don’t really know what kind of cheese they use exactly in Paraguay, but I am quite sure we don’t get Paraguayan cheese here.
Add the polenta or cornmeal and cornkernels and stir it all together. You can season with a little more pepper and salt. It’s time for the milk to go in there as well.
Seperate the eggs. Add the yolks to the cheese mixture. In a clean bowl whip up the eggwhites until stiff. So now you have got the cheesemixture and your eggwhites. Get a spatula and carefully fold those two together. The sopa we had over there always was quite light, despite the cheese or other fillings. I think the whipped up eggwhites ensure a little lightness in the mixture.
Grease an ovendish with some butter, sprinkle in some polenta or cornflour instead of breadcrumbs. In goes the mixture. Add some extra cheese on top. At least that’s what I always do when cooking with cheese – more, more, more!
A sopa this size will need at least 30 minutes in the oven on a 175 degrees Celcius. After 30 minutes check if it’s done with a wooden skewer: if it comes out clean, it’s done!
Some impressions from our trip: