Sopa de mondongo is a rich soup served in Latin America and the Caribbean. Based around the slow-cooked stomach of a cow, each region has developed their own variant of this nourishing dish depending on locally available vegetables and spices. Soups like this one is a great way of making sure that no part of the animal goes to waste. In some families, bone marrow or hoof jelly is added to the pot to make the dish even more nutritious.
In Nicaragua, sopa de mondongo is especially popular in the Masaya region where it is commonly served with avocado and warm tortillas. According to Nicaraguan folklore sopa de mondongo has healing powers.
- 3-5 lbs of mondongo (cow tripe)
- 6 sour oranges (Citrus aurantium, find more info here)
- 4 onions
- 1 garlic
- Salt to taste
- 2 ounces of achiote paste, or achiote powder to taste You can find more info about this colourful spice on the Indio Viejo page.
- 2-3 big yuccas / cassavas
- 4 quequisques. Quequisque, which can be spelled in a myriad of ways, is a root vegetable often confused with the similar malanga. Compared to the potato, quequisque has a creamier texture. In the United States, it is known as taro.
- 1 small ayote. Ayote is a type of squash native to Central America. If you can’t find ayote in your country you can substitute it with some other type of squash.
- 1 chayote. The chayote (Sechium edule) is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash. Just like ayote it can be substituted with some type of squash if you have a hard time finding real chayote.
- 2 dozens of chilotes. When ears of baby corn are cooked, they are called chilotes in Nicaragua. Baby corn are small ears of corn that are harvested before pollination.
- 1 ear of elote (sweet corn) for each person
- ½ cup of wheat flour
- ¼ cabbage head
- 1 bunch of fresh mint
How to make Sopa de Mondongo
1.) Make sure the mondongo (cow stomach) is well washed. Remove any excess fat and black parts by scraping the stomach with a knife.
2.) Place the stomach in an oven tray or similar and let in marinde in the juice from two of the sour oranges for 30 minutes.
3.) Divide two of the onions into quarters and place them in a pot together with half of the garlic and the marinated mondongo. Some people just cut the garlic cloves in halves while others prefer chop them into smaller pieces.
4.) Add salt, achiote and enough water to cover the onions. Cook over medium-low heat until the meat is tender. How long this takes greatly depends on if you have a pressure cooker or not. In an ordinary pot it usually takes around 2 ½ hour. The tender meat can then be cut into smaller pieces of a size suitable for soup before being returned to the pot.
5.) Slice yucca, quequisques, ayote, and chayote into thick slices and add to the pot together with chilote and elote. The elotes are normally cut into large chunks rather than added in one piece to make the soup easier to eat.
6.) Dice the other two onions and add to the pot together with the remaining half of the garlic.
7.) Squeeze the juice of the remaining two sour oranges into the pot.
8.) Add more salt if necessary.
9.) Mix the wheat flour with water and make sure there are no clumps. Slowly add to the pot while stirring.
10.) Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Shred the cabbage and chop the mint leaves and add both towards the end to prevent them from getting too soggy.