There are many dishes associated with the season of Lent and Easter and in Nicaragua, one of these key dishes is Sopa de Queso. Although cheese is one of the main ingredients in this soup, the real star is the corn masa. Not only does it give the soup both flavor and body, the remaining masa is then fried into crunchy fritters that go right inside the bowl.
Sopa De Queso
For the Masa
- 2 cups tortilla flour
- 1 1/2 cups grated dried cheese such as Parmesan
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground achiote optional
- *kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Soup and Fritters
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 white onion chopped
- 1/2 red or green bell pepper chopped
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cube vegetable bouillon optional
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- *kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- *hierbabuena or parsley sprigs for garnish
- Make the masa for the churritos: Combine tortilla flour with grated cheese, egg, salt and pepper to taste, and the achiote dissolved in 3/4 cup water. Knead the doughly lightly until soft and pliable but not sticky. Cover with a cloth and let rest.
- To make the soup: heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the milk, 3 cups of water, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the bouillon cube, if using. Take 1/2 cup of the masa and dissolve it in 1/2 cup water. Add to the soup.
- Simmer until lightly thickened, and taste adding more salt or pepper.
- In a deep frying pan heat the remaining oil over medium heat to about 365 degrees. Knead the reserved masa (add a little water if needed) and form 2-inch logs, about 3/4-inch thick, or make 2-inch mini tortillas. Fry them in the hot oil until golden. If you want to add some of them to the soup, you can do so.
- Transfer the fritters to a plate covered with paper towel.
- Just before serving, drop the eggs in a thin stream in the hot soup, stirring all the time.
- Put some masa fritters in each soup bowl, cover with soup and garnish with hierbabuena or parsley. Serve immediately.