Saturday, March 19, 2011
Mato Grosso do Sul and historically there has always been trade in goods, people and cultures between that state and Paraguay. It is is Mato Grosso do Sul where one is likely to find a dish called Sopa Paraguaia, and it's anything but a soup. It's a savory dish made from corn meal, similar in many ways to cornbread, or even polenta. In the case of this dish, however, the name comes not from the fact that the dish is a "fake" soup but from the fact that the recipe has Paraguayan roots and is a common dish even today on the Paraguayan side of the border.
I'm not sure why the name for this substantial dish is sopa, whether in Paraguay or Brazil. The English word soup (and the Portuguese word sopa) both come from the Low Latin word suppa which means "bread soaked in broth." Perhaps in Paraguay, they preferred their bread to be corn bread and their soup to be more bread and less broth. Who can be sure? Certainly not Flavors of Brazil. But soup or not, the dish is delicious and satisfying. The next post on this blog will contain a recipe for this intriguing "fake" soup.