Latin Twist: Paraguayan Cornbread (a.k.a. Sopa Paraguaya!)

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Don’t be fooled by its Spanish name; Sopa Paraguaya is not a soup! It is, however, a lovely  and cheesy interpretation of cornbread.

 

Cornbread, as many of you know, is made in different ways throughout the Americas. This one, the Paraguayan cornbread, was recently re-brought to my attention by one of my ESL students. She had made it for the party at the end of the semester (mis amigos, one of the BEST parts about teaching English as a Second Language, aside from the fact that my students are all amazing, is that we have great food parties at the end of every semester!). Anyway, when I tried it, it reminded me of how much I love it! Here I’m sharing an adaptation of a version I first wrote and included in Mambo Mixers.

It goes really with with many different drinks, but a fav might be sangría. (I’m still on a kind of brunch kick…and so I’m thinking about how I would make this Paraguayan cornbread to serve with something amazing, like maybe fabulous fresh fruit, and a sweet sip for brunch!) Honestly this week I’m making it to go with stew in light of our impending snowstorm! But oh, if you’re thinking you might light to make it for your cornbread-loving valentine (!), I will be sharing a cocktail that is another perfect addition, on Wednesday morning between 6 and 7 a.m. on Buenos Días Nueva York, on Telemundo! (But if you are worried you can’t get up at the crack of dawn that day, I will be sharing the recipe right here next Friday!)

So, my friends, back to the Sopa Paraguaya! Recipe and steps to follow. I hope you like it, and do tell me, what’s your favorite cornbread?

 

First, I sautéed the vegetable mixture and wow, look at these colors! 

Then I mixed them in with the masa, dough. Check out the steam!  

I filled two pans: one, my favorite, for pie-shaped serving, and the other, well, you can see it here!

And after 25 minutes, and sweet kitchen smells, it was done! 

 

Latin Twist: Paraguayan Cornbread (a.k.a. Sopa Paraguaya!)

Serving Size: About 12

Latin Twist: Paraguayan Cornbread (a.k.a. Sopa Paraguaya!)

This Sopa Paraguaya—Paraguayan Cheesy Cornbread—is adapted from Mambo Mixers (© 2005, Arlen Gargagliano)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup assorted bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup grated shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper jack cheese or a combination
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F.
  2. Grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes or until soft.
  5. Add the corn kernels. Set aside.
  6. In a bowl, sift together the baking powder and the cornmeal.
  7. Pour the milk into a large saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Add the butter, chili powder, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper.
  9. Bring to a boil.
  10. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the cornmeal, stirring constantly.
  11. Add the sautéed onion mixture, and cheeses.
  12. Stir in the eggs and mix well.
  13. Pour into the greased baking dish.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes or until set and lightly browned.
  15. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving!
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About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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