Sopa de milpa or ‘garden soup’ from Oaxaca

My UBC class in Mexican cooking from Oaxaca started with this traditional soup: sopa de milpa or ‘garden soup’.

A milpa is a traditional Mesoamerican corn patch that consisted of rows of corn planted together with the companion plants such as tomatoes, zucchini, poblano chiles, ‘nopales’ (cactus paddles), and epazote (a herb). These, along with the onions and garlic brought from Europe by the Spaniards, form the main ingredients found in this soup.

Sopa de Milpa or 'Garden Soup'

Sopa de Milpa or ‘Garden Soup’

  • pureed tomatoes, corn niblets, 2 poblano chiles, epazote (a herb) and oil were some of the main ingredients found in this soup.
Ingredients for Sopa de Milpa

some ingredients for Sopa de Milpa

  • the soup started with a cup of diced onion sauteed until translucent, at which time a minced garlic clove and pureed tomatoes were added.
  • a couple of poblano chiles were sliced into strips.
  • next came the nopales. A tip about buying nopales (prickly pear paddles) from Chef Rossana: Buy paddles approximately the size of your hand as the larger ones can be too fibrous. Remove the spines from both sides of the paddle by sliding the knife across at a steep angle.
    removing the spines from the nopales

    removing the spines from the nopales

    the nopales are cut into 'hands' and grilled

    the nopales are cut into ‘hands’ and grilled

    rajas de nopales

    strips (rajas) of nopales

  • diced zucchini, corn niblets, poblano chile strips, nopale strips and vegetable or chicken broth were all added to the tomato/onion/garlic mix. Lightly seasoned with salt, it was brought to a boil and then reduced to a simmer.
everything goes into the pot

everything goes into the pot

  • at this point the epazote was added. Pungent, and redolent of mint, licorice and a delicate kerosene, epazote adds a distinctive taste to the soup. Chef Rossana suggested removing any stems before adding to the pot as they are quite woody.  The soup is then simmered for another 5-10 minutes.
epazote

epazote

  • the soup as served!

    Sopa de Milpa or 'Garden Soup'

    Sopa de Milpa or ‘Garden Soup’

Chef Rossana, the instructor of my Mexican cooking course, is on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/MiMetate

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One response to “Sopa de milpa or ‘garden soup’ from Oaxaca

  1. Pingback: Mexican cooking from Oaxaca, the land of the 7 moles | Albatz Gallery & Blog·

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