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Sopa de Arroz a la Veracruzana and Sopa de Tortilla al Vapor / Veracruz-style Rice Soup and Steamed Tortilla Casserole (1953)

March 3, 2014
La cocina selecta (1953) by María Díez de Pérez. UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

La cocina selecta (1953) by María Díez de Pérez. UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

Díez de Pérez, María. La Cocina Selecta: Más de Mil Fórmulas de Guisos, Repostería, Panes, Dulces y Helados, para las Amas de Casa que Gustan Presentar una Buena Mesa. Veracruz: Mprenta Comercial Veracruz ; 1953. [TX716.M4 D539 1953]

This second edition of Díez de Pérez’ mid-century cookbook opens with a chapter of soup recipes, beginning with a reminder to readers that the most essential ingredient for a good soup is a good soup stock:

La base de una Buena sopa es un buen caldo y éste no se consigue más que poniendo en una olla de peltre, o de metal, agua, y cuando hierve se le ponen huesos de cadera y huesos blancos, cebolla, yerbabuena, ajos machacados, un puerro, una zanahoria, un nabo y su sal. Se deja todo hervir hasta que consume un poco y se aparta para de allí colarlo para las sopas.

The basis of a good soup is a good stock. To prepare, bring water to boil in a pewter or metal pot with hip bones and white bones, onion, mint, crushed garlic, a leek, a carrot, a turnip and salt. Allow to boil a bit and then strain to use in soup.

Note: It is not entirely clear what kind of bones Díez de Pérez refers to here. Hip bones probably, but not definitively, refers to a pork or beef  hip joint bone. White bones may refer to marrow bones or ham hocks; or, it may refer specifically to a kind of specially-treated salted ham hocks bone sometimes used as a soup base in Spain.  

Two of the many soup recipes in this chapter follow. The first is a “wet” soup calling for caldo like that described above, while the second is a “dry” soup like a casserole.

Sopa de Arroz a la Veracruzana / Veracruz-style Rice Soup (8)

Se lava y escurre el arroz en un colador. Se muele tomate rojo con cebolla y uno o dos dientes de ajo; esto se fríe en Manteca y alla mismo se fríe el arroz hasta que se dora y suena en la cazuela (ésta ha de se plana), entonces se le agrega caldo, la sal suficiente, un chile gordo verde y se tapa. Se pone a cocer a fuego lento y ya no se mueve más que agitando la cazuela.  

Wash and drain the rice in a colander. Grind red tomato with onion and one or two garlic cloves; then fry this mixture in lard. In the same lard, fry the rice until brown and crackles in the pan sounds in the pan. Then add the soup stock, sufficient salt, and a green poblano chile and cover. Leave to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Sopa de Tortilla al Vapor / Steamed Tortilla Casserole (28)

Se fríe tortilla en cuadritos. En un platón que resista al fuego, se unta de mantequilla blanca, y se pone una capa de la tortilla, otra de buena salsa de gitomate, cebolla, ajo, y perejil, frita en Manteca, otra de tortilla y otra de salsa, dos huevos cocidos y muy picaditos y trocitos de mantequilla. Se cuece a dos fuegos, y al servirla se le pone polvo de queso por encima.

Fry tortillas and tear into quarters. Grease a heat-resistant dish with butter and place in it a layer of tortillas, then another layer of good red tomato salsa (red tomatoes, onion, garlic, and parsley fried in lard),another layer of tortillas, and another of salsa, then two finely-chopped hard-boiled eggs, and little pieces of butter. Cook between two fires and serve topped with grated cheese.

Note: To “cook between two fires” traditionally means to apply heat from both above and below. Briefly placing the casserole dish in a pre-heated oven under a broiler would probably work. The use of “steamed” in the title would seem to suggest the use of a double-broiler. However, I am not sure how one would go about applying heat from above in that situation. 

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