Two things that you can find anywhere in Paraguay that are guaranteed to fill you up. Chipa is made in huge batches in the morning and sold throughout the day at bus stations, on buses, to passers-by on the sidewalk, in parks…you get the idea. It squeaks when you eat it fresh. It’s often filled with cheese (the basic chipa and the one the recipe here is for), but can also be filled with meat and possibly other fillings. They don’t stay well for more than a day, so if you make this, plan to eat it all that day, preferrably right away (or serve to a crowd). We often had a couple for breakfast along with some juice. The chipa in this picture are the two crunchy-looking things in the middle, sopa paraguaya on the right, and a lonely little empanada sitting on the left.
Sopa paraguaya may be the quintessential dish for Paraguay. Taking a look at it, you might think it’s just cornbread, but it’s so much more. It’s got onions, it’s creamier (if a bread can be creamy), and it’s a meal within itself. This is a good-looking recipe here (haven’t tried it yet myself, though) and I recommend trying it out.
Both recipes are from Comida Paraguaya by Josefina Velilla de Aquino, a book I think we will treasure long into the future. Thanks again to Chris for the translation.
250 gms fat (shortening, butter, lard, etc.)
500 gms grated “Paraguayan cheese” (or another salty, softish white cheese)
1 tbsp anis
1 tbsp rough salt
1 c milk
1¼ kilo manioc flour
1. Beat the fat, eggs, and cheese together.
2. Add the anis, salt dissolved in milk, and flour, stir together.
3. Knead well, although not too long.
4. Form chipas, which are usually either the shape and size of a donut, or the shape of a long, thin dinner bun.
5. Place on a buttered and floured pan, bake at 250 degrees C for about 25 minutes.
SOPA PARAGUAYA (Paraguayan Cornbread)
½ kilo onions
1 c water
1 tbsp rough salt
¾ c fat (they suggest pork lard, I’m sure butter or something would be fine)
300 gms cheese (some kind of salty, soft, white cheese)
2 c curdled milk
500 gms corn flour (polenta)
1. Boil the onions (chopped finely) in the water and salt for 10 minutes in a covered pot. Let cool.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the fat until foamy. Add the eggs one by one, the cheese (grated very finely) and the boiled onions (just the onions – save the water for later). Beat well after each addition.
3. Add the milk and the onion water, then the corn flour.
4. Let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Put in a deep-dish pan, buttered and floured, cook at 200ºC for 1 hour.
* Many people put grated corn kernels in in addition to or instead of the polenta.
* You can also add only the yolks in Step 2, and then gently add the whites, beaten until fluffy, after Step 4.