Perfect Paraguayan Chipa So’o

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The Chipa So’o is a traditional dish in Paraguayan cuisine that’s part of the Guarani-Spanish Jesuit cuisine’s heritage. It’s a baked corn dough made with pork fat, corn flour, corn starch, milk, salt, and cheese. Once prepared, the dough is formed into balls and filled with a meat mixture. Then, the Chipa So’o are brushed with milk to develop a nice color on the outside. This chipa variety is typically eaten as a hearty midmorning snack, but it can also be served as a calorie-laden lunch.

What is Chipa So’o?

Chipa So’o is a traditional dish of Paraguayan cuisine. It consists of a Paraguayan Sopa but is more compact in a domed shape about 7 centimeters in diameter, stuffed with a flavorful minced meat mixture.😉

Origin of the Chipa So’o

This dish has its origins during the development of the region of the Jesuit-Guarani missions, currently known as the “Guaranitic area .”The culture that developed in these missions was somewhat strong. The conquerors and the Jesuits used the Guarani as intermediaries with other Amerindian peoples, spreading culinary knowledge.

There are records from the colonial and Jesuit times that mention that the Guarani prepared cakes and cornbread, but later, there were contributions from the Jesuits where other foods were included, among them beef. From then on, new dishes were created where products from both cultures were fused.

In the case of the Guaraní gastronomy, corn, sweet potato, pumpkin, etc., reigned, while the ingredients of the conquistadors and Jesuits were meat, milk, eggs, cheese, etc. For this reason, it is considered very likely that it was in this mission area where the recipe for Chipa So’o and other similar dishes originated.

What are the Main Ingredients for Chipa So’o?

  • Fat: Butter, lard (pork fat), or margarine, cut into cubes
  • Cornflour: Harina Paraguaya, Corn Flour, or Quaker yellow cornmeal (medium grind) * 
  • Cheese: Tropical Fresh white cheese for frying (Queso de Freir)
  • Milk: Whole milk, room temperature
  • Eggs: For the dough and the filling.
  • kosher salt: For Flavor.
  • Cornmeal: Paraguayan Corn flour is preferred. However, finding Paraguayan corn flour can be difficult in other countries, such as the United States, but this is not a problem because cornmeal can be substituted for Paraguayan cornflour. I usually mix 250 grs. Cornmeal with 250 grs. white Harina P.A.N
  • Starch: Yuca starch or cornstarch
  • Meat: Chuck roast, Center Cut Roast, Top Round Roast, Rump Roast, etc.
  • Vegetables: Onion and Bell Pepper.

How do you Make Chipa So’o from Scratch? 

Prepare the dough: Make a soft and smooth cornmeal dough if more liquid is needed, a little more milk. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the Filling: Make the meat mixture and let it cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble: Make fist-sized balls with the cornmeal dough. Make a hole in the center and put some filling. Close well and shape into a dome shape approximately 3 inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet that has been greased and dusted cornmeal—Bake in the oven at 350° F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the Chipa So’o are golden brown with a perfectly cracked exterior.

How to store & Reheat Chipa So’o

Chipa So’o tastes best when served fresh out of the oven, but it can be store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag for up to 5 days. To reheat: Wrap the Chipa So’o in aluminum foil and warm in a 350°F oven until hot. Alternatively, heat squares in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, or until just heated through; do not overheat, or they will get tough.

What to Serve with Chipa So’o

Chipa So’o pairs well with a nice cold Cola-Cola.😋

Tips for Preparing Chipa So’o

  • The filling can be made one day in advance.
  • Use yellow cornflour or yellow cornmeal.
  • Cornstarch can be used instead of yuca starch if it isn’t available.

Ingredients for the Chipa So’o

For the Dough:

  • 500 grs, Harina Paraguaya Corn Flour, or Quaker yellow cornmeal (medium grind) * I usually mix 250 grs. Cornmeal with 250 grs. white Harina P.A.N
  • 200 grs, salted Butter, lard (pork fat), or shortening, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsps, Yuca starch or cornstarch
  • 200 grs queso blanco (queso para freir) 
  • 3 tsp Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk, room temperature

For the filling:

  • 1kg boneless Beef Chuck, trimmed and cubed
  • 3 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper or green bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow or orange, finely chopped
  • 4 Scallions or green onion, white and green parts separated 
  • 5 Garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons knorr beef flavor bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, to taste (optional)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley or cilantro, finely chopped ( stem removed)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, minced

How to make Paraguayan Chipa So’o

For the filling:

Place the eggs in a saucepan in a single layer, and fill the pan with enough cold water to cover the eggs by about an inch. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice water. Carefully pour out the hot water; transfer the cooked eggs to the ice water to cool completely before peeling for about 10 minutes.Then, gently crack the eggs all over and peel them under running water.

Pat, dry with a paper towel, and places them into a bowl. Using a fork, minced the eggs; cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a large nonstick pot, combine beef, 2 tablespoons olive oil, water, beef bouillon, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic; stir and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, occasionally stirring until beef is tender for about 1 hour. Remove lid, and increase heat to high until and let dry up to a juicy but dry look for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the paprika, white part of the scallions, onions, and peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the parsley and the green part of the green onions and saute for another 10 minutes to eliminate any excess liquid (the mixture should be moist but not runny. That’s the trick).Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Then, working in batches, transfer the meat mixture to a food processor or blender and pulse until it is coarsely shredded ( don’t overdo it, or you’ll need up with puree).

Next, transfer each batch of shredded meat mixture into a large mixing bowl and mix in the minced eggs. Let it cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the dough:

Whisk the cornmeal, yuca starch, and 3 teaspoons of kosher salt in a very large bowl. Make a well in the center of the cornmeal mixture and add the butter, milk,  cheese, and egg.Work the wet mixture into the cornmeal mixture aiming for a soft and smooth dough if more liquid is needed, a little more milk. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

How to Assembly the Chipa So’o

Grab a handful of dough and roll it into a large ball, then flatten it with your hand, creating a hollow in the center with one of your thumbs to create a basket-like shape. Next, place a heaping spoonful of the filling in the center of the dough, then slowly close it to form a ball with the filling inside. On one side, flatten the base and give it a rounded or domed shape.

Place the finished piece in a non-stick oven sheet or lightly greased and lightly dusted with cornmeal, and repeat the process until all of the pieces are finished. If necessary, cook the Chipa So’o in two batches. Next, Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake the Chipa So’o for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and perfectly cracked.

Enjoy!

Notes:

  • Freezing Instructions: Sopa Paraguaya tastes best when served fresh out of the oven, but it can be frozen in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. Allow thawing overnight in the refrigerator.
  • To reheat: Wrap the Sopa Paraguaya in aluminum foil and warm in a 350°F oven until hot. Alternatively, heat squares in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, or until just heated through; do not overheat, or they will get tough.
  • Brush the Chipa So’o with milk to give them a nicer color.
  • It is recommended to eat hot or warm.
  • Harina Paraguaya is recommended. For those in other countries, you can use Quaker yellow cornmeal (medium grind) or white Harina P.A.N instead. 

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