Tuesday, September 29, 2009
One of my favorite dishes here is known as Sopa (soup) Paraguaya but this soup is eaten with a fork or even your hands! Sopa Paraguaya is a type of corn bread made with a white cheese and is delicious, at least to someone who was raised on southern cooking! Cheesy corn bread! What is not to like?
This seems to be the most authentic recipe I have found for using non Paraguayan ingredients to make Sopa Paraguaya.
Of course, if you have an inquiring mind, like mine, you want to know how a dish of corn bread came to be called 'SOUP'! I have asked this question of many of my Paraguayan friends and I have received almost as many answers as people!
The basic element to each story is that an important individual was fond of the corn meal soup made by the Guarani indians. This mush had been altered to include cheese and milk once the Spaniards arrived and introduced dairy products to the indians.
This particular individual asked his cook to prepare his soup. She did so and placed the pan in an earthen oven called a tatakua. These are still used today and can be found in many back yards. The cook seems to have forgotten her soup was in the oven and over cooked it to the point of it solidifying into a cake like texture. Upon trying the dish, the gentleman found he preferred the cake-like soup and named it Sopa Paraguaya.
If you are familiar with the Paraguayan sense of humor, you can see how quickly such a name would catch on!