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      RECIPE TITLE "Ecuadorian Dumpling Soup (Caldo de Bolas)"
    recipe from The Art of South American Cooking Copyright © 1991 by Felipe Rojas-Lombar

    yieldsServes 6 to 8time--- difficultyeasy

    Bolas are small filled dumplings. In this soup they are made with plantains, which produce a smooth, rich dough that is neutral enough to set off various fillings. This recipe calls for a meat filling, but vegetables and seafood are often used. (See Variation at end of recipe.) You can add extra flavors and colors to the filling once it is cooked with such extras as hard-boiled eggs, slivered black olives, peanuts or walnuts, and chopped fresh herbs.


    4 green plantains (about 2 1/2 pounds)
    1 tablespoon seedless raisins
    1/4 cup Amontillado sherry or rum
    1 dried red chili pepper, seeded
    1 large clove garlic, peeled
    3 tablespoons olive oil or Achiote Oil
    4 ounces bacon, minced
    1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
    1 small carrot, peeled and grated (1/3 cup)
    2 teaspoons Spanish paprika (see Note)
    2 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded (juices saved), and finely chopped
    3 tablespoons coarse salt
    1/4 pound ground veal or chicken or lean beef or pork
    4 quarts Chicken Stock or Veal Stock
    1 small sprig fresh rosemary or 10 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
    3 leafy celery tops
    1 1/4-inch slice fresh ginger, cut on the diagonal (optional)
    1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
    1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    1 bay leaf
    2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley


    1. Peel the plantains and put them in a bowl of cold water. Set aside.

    2. In a cup, place the raisins with the sherry or rum to soak. Set aside.

    3. Mince the hot pepper and garlic together. Set aside.

    4. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the bacon and saute, stirring, until the bacon has released most of its fat and starts to get golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the hot pepper-garlic mixture; add the onion, carrot, and paprika, if using, and saute, stirring now and then, for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

    5. Add the raisins, together with the sherry or rum, and continue cooking until all the liquor has evaporated. Add the tomatoes, with their juices, and 1 tablespoon of the salt. Cook, while stirring, until the liquid had evaporated, about 10 minutes.

    6. Mix in the ground meat and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring now and then. Remove from the heat; strain the contents of the skillet through a fine sieve or strainer into a bowl and let drain, pressing gently to extract most of the oil and juices. Reserve both the oil and the meat. Set aside.

    7. Meanwhile, in a large enameled saute pan, bring 8 cups of the stock to a boil together with the rosemary, celery tops, ginger, if using, and 1 tablespoon of the salt. Remove the peeled plantains from the water and add them to the boiling stock. Lower the heat and let simmer, covered, for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the plantains are soft. Remove from the heat; remove the plantains, saving the stock.

    8. Place the piping-hot plantains in the work bowl of a food processor together with the reserved oil, the cheese, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt. Process for about 1 minute, or until you have a totally smooth dough. Transfer the dough to a stainless-steel bowl and let cool. When cool, incorporate the egg and the egg yolk with a rubber spatula until they are totally absorbed. Knead in the butter.

    9. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. Place 1 portion in the palm of your hand, and with your hand slightly cupped, flatten the dough into a circle 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter; form a well in the center. Place 1 tablespoonful of filling in the middle and close the dough over the filling by pinching the edges together. Gently roll between your palms to shape into a perfectly smooth ball. Repeat this process until all the dumplings are assembled.

    10. Strain the reserved stock in which the plantains were cooked through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Add enough of the remaining chicken stock to make about 13 cups.

    11. In a pan just large enough to hold the 16 dumplings comfortably, bring the stock with the bay leaf to a boil. Correct the seasoning with salt to taste. Lower the heat, carefully drop all the bolas into the stock, and simmer gently, without boiling, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve the bolas in the broth. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

    Omit the paprika if achiote oil is used.

    Substitute 1/2 pound of peeled, cleaned, and chopped shrimp for the ground meat. Add to the onion mixture in Step 6 but cook for only 1 minute, not 10 as for meat. Remove from heat and proceed with the recipe.

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    book coverArt of South American Cookery (Hippocrene International Cookbook Series)
    "Parts of South America have very similar cookery styles. For example, many countries serve the classic dishes brought from their motherlands: Spain and Portugal. However, the locally available ingredients have naturally influenced and modified the cuisines of the individual countries. Chile, for example, has taken full advantage of its long coastline and superb fisheries to create some delectable seafood preparations. Notable is Chupe de Mariscos, a seafood soup-stew or chowder. Brazil, using the black beans of the country, has as its national dish Feijoada, made with beans and a variety of meats and spices. Argentina, a great meat country, combines meats with fruits and vegetables, resulting in a Carbonada. One of Peru's contributions to the art of good eating is a marvelous chicken-and-pepper dish called Aji de Pollo. Dishes with Salsa de Almendras, almond sauce, are familiar through large parts of South America, but reach a high point of deliciousness in Ecuador, where this sauce is served with shrimp, eggs, and almost anything the chef has available. You will find that cooking the South American way introduces a new type of cuisine into your menu. It offers a scope and excitement that will delight your family and guests." -from the author's Introduction
    More info
    book coverArt of South American Cooking
    As diverse as its history and as varied as the countries that make up the continent, South American cooking combines the agricultural greatness of the pre-Columbian native peoples--responsible for cultivating the potato, tomato, chile pepper, and corn--with the culinary traditions of later arrivals from Spain, Portugal, the west coast of Africa, Italy, and elsewhere to create a delicious cuisine of dimension and depth.
    Felipe Rojas-Lombardi presents a spectacular array of both innovative and traditional recipes. He begins each chapter with a discussion of how that particular food fits into the fabric of the meal. The more than 250 recipes include ceviches, escabeches, empanadas, tamales, soups, seafood, poultry, meat, vegetables and grains, and desserts; and finally there is a chapter on such basics as how to prepare eggless mayonnaise and corn beer, and how to clean squid. An enormously talented cook and teacher, Felipe brings North Americans the culinary diversity and great food of the continent to our south. More info


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