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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

When Yucatán gets cold, soups come to the rescue

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Maggie Cale
Maggie Cale
Maggie Cale was born in the United States and has lived most of her life in Pennsylvania. She has a social work degree from Penn State University and finished her career in Washington, D.C. working with families. She moved to Yucatán in 2017 and has worked part-time ghostwriting for bloggers. She lives in Itzimná with her two dogs.

The current Yucatán chill is real. I never thought a gal from Pennsylvania would find the 70 degree days here cold. However, my internal temperature controls have changed, and I am feeling the chill. So how else are we all taking the chill off during these cooler days? Soups are the answer! Local soups are filled with flavor and I also have my favorites.

Sopa de Lima. Photo: Getty Images

Sopa de Lima

A favorite traditional Yucatecan soup is made with turkey, spices, and limes. The depth of flavors in sopa de lima might go unnoticed until you actually review all the ingredients and then sit down to a delicious bowl. Serves 6

  • 1 skinless turkey leg             
  • 4 C chicken broth 
  • 4 garlic cloves                       
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf                              
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano         
  • 2 banana peppers charred
  • 1 green pepper charred         
  • 1 white onion halved 
  • 1 tbsp oil                                
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 5 diced tomatoes                   
  • ¼ C lime juice
  • 3 limes zested                 
  • Chopped cilantro and fried tortilla strips for serving 

In a large pot cook the turkey leg, with skin removed, add stock or broth, 2 garlic cloves chopped, add peppercorns, bay leaf, 2 tsp salt, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the turkey is very tender. Remove turkey leg and drain broth through a mesh colander to remove any bones or non-liquid spices. Return broth to the pot and shred turkey leg meat. 

While turkey is cooking, char your peppers and place them in a bag to shake off the skins. When cool, chop into bite-size pieces. Also, mince the two remaining garlic cloves and set them aside. 

Saute the chopped zucchini and squash in oil until it begins to brown. Add diced tomatoes, charred veggies, and garlic. Allow it to cook until the liquid reduces. Put the shredded turkey back in the stock, add sautéed veggies and the lime and lime zest. Heat until all is hot and the spice is slightly soft. 

Serve with chopped cilantro, tortilla strips, and a slice of lime.

Black bean soup. Photo: Pexels

Sopa de Frijol Negra

A simple black bean soup that warms you up and hits all those taste buds we have developed for local Yucatán food. Serves 4

  • 1 C of dry black beans soaked overnight 
  • 5 C of water
  • 2 ½ chopped onions 
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped fine 
  • 1 sprig of epazote ( local spice)
  • Fried tortilla strips, cilantro, and favorite cheese to garnish

Put the beans in a pot after rinsing, add chopped garlic, ½ chopped onion, and 5 cups of water. Cook until beans are soft. Drain beans and put them in a food processor with the chopped sprig of epazote. Blend until nice smooth texture. In a pan, saute the other 2 chopped onions in oil until browned. Add the bean mixture into the pan with the onions and cook until they bubble a bit and thicken. Serve with chopped cilantro, favorite cheese, and fried tortilla strips. 

My two favorite soups to make are Cream of Asparagus and Ginger Broth Soup with Pork Mini Meatballs and Wontons. Both soups are reasonably healthy and have good flavors, and I am always searching for the perfect soup.

Cream of Asparagus Soup. Photo: Pexels

Cream of Asparagus Soup 

Serves 4

  • One bunch of asparagus 
  • One medium white onion chopped 
  • One large carrot grated 
  • Three garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes 
  • 1 ½ C milk 
  • 1 C water 

Chop asparagus ends off and then cut into 2-inch pieces. Place it, along with the onion, carrot, and garlic, in a frying pan and cook until onions are translucent. Add water and 2 vegetable broth cubes to the pan and cook until asparagus is tender. If needed, you can add some more water if it cooks off. Once asparagus is tender, add the milk and cook on low heat. Cook for about another 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth. Soup is ready and good with croutons or crackers.

The beginnings of meal: Ginger Broth Soup with Pork Meatballs and Wontons. Photo: Pexels

Ginger Broth Soup with Pork Meatballs and Wontons

This is my version of Inside Out Wonton Soup using a combination of several recipes, the end result of this being my favorite. Serves 6

  • 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated 
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated 
  • One white onion, diced 
  • 1 Tbsp oil 
  • 2½ cups button mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ head of cabbage 
  • 1 pack of wontons or make your own 
  • 1 ½ lbs ground pork
  • 1 tsp of thyme 
  • 1 tsp of rosemary 
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 egg  

Sautee the first 6 ingredients until fragrant and mushrooms have started to brown. 

Meanwhile, put ground pork in a bowl with thyme, rosemary, egg, and salt, and pepper. Shape into mini meatballs and brown on a cookie sheet in the oven. 

Slice your cabbage into long thin pieces. Remove the sautéed items, place them in a soup pot, add vegetable stock, and bring them to a boil. When meatballs are done browning, add to the pot. Add low until cabbage is starting to soften. While cabbage is cooking, shape your wontons using water, so they maintain their shape. Slowly drop wontons into the soup. When wontons are all floating, your soup should be done. Garnish with sliced green onions.

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