Recipe: Beef Soup (So’O-Yosopy) Tasty Paraguayan Soup
Photo: Beef Soup
2 pounds ground lean sirloin or round steak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 or 2 fresh hot peppers, seeded and chopped
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup rice or vermicelli
grated Parmesan cheese
1 Have the butcher grind the meat twice, then mash it in a mortar to make sure it is completely pulverized, or use a food processor. Set the meat aside together with any juices.
2 Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onions and pepper until the onions are softened. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture is thick and well blended, about 5 minutes longer. Cool the mixture slightly. Put the beef and its juices into a saucepan. Stir in the sauteed onions, pepper, and tomatoes, known as the sofrito, and 8 cups cold water, mixing well. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the rice or noodles and simmer, still stirring, until tender, about 15 minutes. At this point, season to taste with salt. If salt is added earlier, the meat and liquid which should be completely blended, may separate. Some cooks believe that constant stirring is the most important step, others that the point at which the salt is added is the vital factor. Superstition has it that if anyone who does not enjoy cooking is present in the kitchen they may cause the So’O-Yosopy to separate and spoil the dish.
3 Serve with a baked sweet potato or a thick slice of boiled yucca (cassava), or both, and Sopa Paraguaya, Paraguayan Corn Bread despite its misleading name. Sprinkle, if liked, with grated cheese. Water biscuits may also be served with the soup.