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Back in July, I spent two marvelous weeks in Paraguay. Along with a group of people whom I consider friends, I dug a pit, practiced Spanish, played with kids, and absorbed the sights, sounds, and culture of a new country (my first new country, in fact). Paraguay is incredible. I’ve never met such kind, welcoming, and giving people.

I’m really terrible at starting conversations; the other members of my group knew this all too well. But there was one person in particular, a Paraguayan girl named Yamila, who simply refused to give up. We became good friends during those weeks, and even better friends in the months since.

I miss Paraguay. I miss my friends. I felt at home there. I feel like I’ve left a part of my heart there. A few days ago, when the longing was particularly acute, Yamila sent me two of her favorite recipes: Mandi’o Chyryry and Sopa Paraguaya. I can’t recall eating Mandi’o Chyryry while I was there, but I do remember Sopa, and it was excellent. Then, yesterday, I tried making Sopa myself, and it was like I was back in Paraguay for a minute.

This is Yamila’s mother’s recipe, almost exactly as she sent it to me (though a few ingredients are different due to availability– or lack thereof– where I live). I might play with it a bit in the future, but it’s great as it is.

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Sopa Paraguaya

Ingredients:

  • 500g corn flour
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 250g shredded cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 500mL milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix the oil, onion, salt, and a bit of water. Fry until onion is soft. Mix with the corn flour, eggs, cheese, and milk. It should be a semi-liquid.
  3. Pour into a glass baking dish (mine was 9×9). Cook in the oven for 1 hour, until the top is brown around the edges.

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