Chicken soup with dumplings
Paraguay, sometimes known as the ‘Heart of South America’ owing to its central location, is a landlocked country lying between Brazil and Bolivia. Although fish is used in the cuisine, only fresh water varieties would have been available to the inhabitants before colonisation and this is reflected in the recipes;most are based on meat, vegetables, cassava and corn (maize.)
The inevitable influence from European cuisine has shaped the dishes, particularly when Spanish settlers arrived in the 16th century.
The dish we will make today is a satisfying soup which is relatively easy to make. The dumplings (vorivori) are not difficult and make this dish very filling. The quantity of black pepper given gives the soup a bite, so if you like things to be a little milder, reduce the amount of black pepper accordingly.
What you need
*1.2 kgchicken (corn-fed if you can find it)
*1red pepper, de-seeded, chopped
*1 tomato, peeled, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, chopped
*1 onion, chopped
*1 tspblack pepper
*15g parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
*1 tbsoregano leaves, coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve
*1 tbs olive oil
*160g cornmeal flour (see note)
*90g fine semolina
*100g fresh ricotta
*1 egg, lightly beaten
*2 tsp finely chopped oregano
*50g mozzarella, finely grated
What to do
*Place the chicken in a large pan with 3 litres of water and bring to a simmer.
*Cook gently for 50–60 minutes.
*Skim the surface regularly. Remove the chicken from the stock when the chicken is cooked through and the stock is well flavoured.
*Once cooled, roughly shred the chicken and set aside.
*Mix together the remaining ingredients, except for the olive oil, and set aside.
To make the dumplings. combine the cornmeal flour and semolina in a bowl.
*Mix together the ricotta, egg, mozzarella and oregano then add to the flour. Season to taste.
*Skim a little of the fat from the surface of the stock, along with 185 ml of the liquid and add just enough to the flour mixture to form a smooth dough. *Combine well using your hands adding more stock if necessary, until the dough just comes together.
*Roll into 1½ cm diameter balls and set aside.
*Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and allow to heat.
*Fry the chopped vegetables in the oil for 5 minutes, stirring continually, until aromatic.
*Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
*Add the vorivori balls and cook for 5 minutes.
*Return the chicken to the stock and allow to warm through for a few more minutes.
*Ladle soup into bowls and scatter with the extra oregano.
• Cornmeal flour, also called harina pan and is sometimes sold as polenta. It is not as fine as cornflour.
I hope you enjoyed the forty-sixth of our eighty dishes from around the world. Please join me next time when we visit Bolivia.