Sopa Paraguaya (Paraguayan Cornbread)

star rating (13) rate this recipe
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Sopa Paraguaya (Paraguayan Cornbread)

star rating (13) rate this recipe
Published prior to 2008

I absolutely adore the dialogue this humble newsletter engenders with readers. Susan Murphy from Long Island wrote me the following after receiving her Autumn issue of The Baking Sheet®:

"...the recipe for the Potato Borek made me think of a recipe that I just found in a 1983 cookbook with international recipes from countries all over the world. I picked up the cookbook for $1.00 at a library in Rhode Island which sells books to raise money. One recipe in particular caught my attention for Sopa Paraguaya-Paraguayan Cornbread. The recipe consisted of onions, chopped and fried in oil, milk, salt, lard or vegetable oil, cheese, cottage cheese, cornmeal, and eggs. It was heavy on the fat and the onions. So I did a search on the Internet and came up with a few hits for Sopa Paraguaya, but none that sounded really good and at least somewhat healthy. Do you have any recipes for Sopa Paraguaya?"

Off I went on a recipe hunt. I found a number of recipes, each of which had something about it that appealed, but none that I was willing to buy into altogether. So I did some combining and morphing and testing. I learned that Paraguayan cornbread is often baked in the drippings from a roast chicken, which sounded mighty good to me; something like a Latin American Yorkshire pudding. Some recipes called for separating the eggs and folding them in, but that seemed a bit prissy for what was originally a sturdy country dish, often served next to a hearty beef soup or stew. As the recipe came together, I realized it was a nutritional powerhouse. One serving has practically all the whole grains you're supposed to be getting per day, there's lots of protein from the cheese, and with a couple of minor tweaks (see sidebar) it can be made with very little cholesterol.

This is a dense, very moist, quite yummy dish. Perfect for winter with a roast, some chili, or some soup. I hope Susan and everyone else will find it as satisfying as we did.

Susan Reid, editor
The Baking Sheet

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn or vegetable oil
1 cup (5 ounces) diced onion
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) each diced red and green pepper
1 1/2 cups (7 1/4 ounces) whole cornmeal
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 ounces) fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup (4 ounces) Monterey or pepperjack cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch pan that's at least 2 inches deep, or a shallow 2-quart casserole dish.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and pour in the oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal and milk. Stir in the sugar, cottage cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Stir in the corn kernels and cooled onion mixture. Stir in the cheese, and then transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the center doesn't wobble when lightly touched with your finger. Remove from the oven, serve warm. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (2-inch square, 107g): 172 cal, 36g whole grains, 7g fat, 7g protein, 20g complex carbohydrates, 2g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 48mg cholesterol, 534mg sodium, 181mg potassium, 76RE vitamin A, 6mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 166mg calcium, 227mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XIX, No. 1, Winter 2008 issue.


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  • star rating 01/23/2011
  • Christina from Florida
  • So I changed a few things, and the results were delicious! This is a great way to make your cornbread more satisfying and healthy. I steamed the onion and pepper in the microwave. I omitted the oil. Added lowfat buttermilk instead of milk and used 1 tsp baking soda instead of baking powder. I also used about 2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar in place of the montery jack. This wasn't called for but really made it flavorful: two cloves of minced garlic. Left the sugar out, it wasn't needed. Baked it for about 45 min in a convection toaster oven. Thanks for another great recipe.
  • star rating 02/28/2010
  • Alice R. from Shawnee, KS
  • Although this recipe was a little more work than usual cornbread, the results were worth it. My husband exclaimed that this is his favorite cornbread. Next time, I'll make it a little more lowfat.
  • star rating 11/04/2009
  • Vicky from Allegany, NY
  • Very pretty. More moist than the usual cornbreads
  • star rating 06/28/2009
  • Merlene from MA
  • This hardly a lowfat recipe. Since there is NO nutritional info, it can be debated how much fat there is. Several of the ingredients have lowfat substitutions.
  • star rating 06/27/2009
  • Kris Ottoson from Colorado
  • Delicious and easy! This cornbread can stand alone as a meal. (I am mystified by the "lofat" comment of the reader who gave this a one-star rating.)
  • star rating 06/26/2009
  • Loie Legendre from Maine
  • The only change I make is to leave out the corn. Would suggest that you use the skillet (cast iron of course) to bake your cornbread in , I like to make sure my skillet is still hot when I pour cornbread batter into it, makes wonderful crust... Yum, Yum Loie in Maine
  • star rating 06/26/2009
  • Carol from Georgia
  • I've made this several times and it was moist and delicious. It does remind me of the cornbreads that I had when I traveled to Paraguay.
  • 06/26/2009
  • vstoklosa from florida
  • Why are the volume and Imperial measures given so unequal? 1 cup is 8 ounces where I come from, not 4 or 5. I can see where the author is giving the weight vs. measuring cup amounts, but it all seems very confusing.
    It can be a confusing issue. This is a quote from Our Baker's Companion Book that helps to explain it. "In the early 1800s Americans began to substitute volume measurements for weight, probably because a “teacup” or an “egg” as bases for measurement, were easier to come by than an accurate scale, especially on the trail west. A “knob” of butter, “butter the size of an egg,” even “alum the size of a cherry,” are measurements that are sprinkled through old cookbooks. In earlier times, “receipts” for baked goods were based on these fairly rough ingredient and measurement guidelines that lead to very individualized results. Baking was an art and success was dependent on an accumulation of experience. Today we try to recreate recipes accurately, without eliminating an individual’s touch. Just as your speech has a personality of its own, so should your baking. But as we try to become more accurate, our tradition of volume measuring can leave us short because volume measurements are prone to wide interpretation (i.e., a “cup” of flour can weigh anywhere between 4 and 5 1/2 ounces. And the cups themselves can legally vary up to 12%). Measuring by weight is much more consistent and accurate. Measuring flour At King Arthur Flour, we’ve held a long debate about what a “cup” of flour weighs. In the past, for simplicity’s sake, we called it 4 ounces. You can, in fact, create a 4-ounce cup of flour by sifting the flour first. The sifting process incorporates a lot of air into the flour, which is the first source of leavening. Scooping flour, which can produce a much heavier cup (up to 5 1/2 ounces plus), will obviously contain less air and more flour. So our old volume measurement for flour, when it meant 4 ounces, had its positive benefits, at least as far as leavening was concerned. You can also fluff flour up in your flour bag, sprinkle it gently into your measuring cup, scrape the top off with a straight edge, and get close to 4 ounces, but you probably will get a little bit more. Our preferred weight for a cup of flour is 4 1/4 ounces, and that’s what we’ve used throughout the book. This is closer to what bakers actually measure volume-wise. It does make calculating total ounces a little more difficult, but in all of the recipes, we’ve done the calculating for you. This discussion would be much easier if we’d stop relying on measuring cups and start using the scale. But since the old volume system of measurement is still pretty standard, we’re using it along with weight measurements, which you can use in this and most other American cookbooks." I hope that helps ease the confusion for you. Mary@KAF
  • star rating 06/26/2009
  • Ray Lance from Athens, Tennessee
  • Cornbread of any kind does not need sugar. If it has Corn in it that adds enough sweetness. It also needs a little Buttermilk.
  • star rating 06/26/2009
  • Patrick Yancey from Topeka, KS
  • Excellent richness with just the right amount of zip. I wouldn't change a thing.
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