This recipe for a traditional soup from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas uses lots of beautiful fresh vegetables, toasted bread and fried plantain to create a thick, hearty meal. Due to the amount of work that goes into its production, it is rarely served outside of fiestas, when many hands can join in the work.
- 600 g baguette, sliced 1 cm thick
- 140 ml vegetable oil
- 2½ cups sliced plantain (see Note)
- 6 tomatoes, sliced
- 2 white onions sliced
- 2 tsp sugar
- salt, to taste
- 1 cup cooked peas
- 4 boiled eggs, sliced
- 2 cups diced zucchini
- 2 cups diced carrot
- 2 cups diced potato
- 1 cup chopped green beans
- 1 cup raisins
- ½ bunch thyme
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 g saffron threads
- 1 tbsp sugar
- salt, to taste
- 3 litres chicken stock
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place all ingredients for the soup base in a large saucepan. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until tender but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, heat a dry heavy-based fry pan over medium. Toast baguette slices on both sides until golden. As they are ready, layer them into the base of a 6-litre 35 cm saucepan.
Heat 80 ml of vegetable oil in a wide heavy-based frying pan over medium. Gently cook the plantain, turning, as they become golden. As they are ready, add them to the toasted bread in the large pan. Reserve the oil.
Heat remaining vegetable oil in a 30 cm saucepan over medium-low. Add the tomato, onion, sugar then salt to taste. Cook gently for 20–25 minutes or until tomato is softened and sauce is thick. Add reserved oil from the plantain pan and stir through.
Add the tomato mixture to the soup base and stir through. Check seasoning and add peas. Bring the mix to the boil. Gently ladle vegetables and stock over the toasted bread and plantain, then garnish with the boiled egg slices. Shake the pot gently to ensure all the bread is well soaked with the stock, then place the pot on a low flame for 45 minutes. When ready, remove from the heat.
This soup should be served around room temperature.
• Plantains are also known as platanos or cooking bananas and are available from speciality fruit and vegetable stores.