Sopa de Castanha do Pará
(Brazil Nut Soup)

This was contributed by frequent Brazilian traveller Peter Wolfe in 1996; I lost it for over four years and only recently found it buried deep in an old storage directory on my hard drive. Better late than never.

Peter says, "Pará is a big state in the Amazon region of northern Brazil. "Castanha" is usually translated as "chestnut" in Portuguese. When we were in Brazil, these nuts were readily available."

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place nuts on baking pan and bake for 10 mins, stirring occasionally to toast evenly. Cool.

3. When nuts are cool, rub off the skins (tedious). In a food processor, grind the nuts, pulsing on and off until they are finely ground. Reserve in the food processor.

4. In a large stockpot, heat stock over medium heat. Add a ladle of the stock to the food processor, pulse until smooth, and set aside.

5. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. When it begins to foam, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour. Return the roux to the head and whisk constantly, just until it begins to pull from the sides of the pan. Ladle 3 cups of the stock into the roux a little at a time, whisking constantly.

6. Whisk the flour and stock mixture and nut mixture into the stock. Season with salt, pepper, mace, and cream. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add a little more cream (!).

7. Cut 1 pomegranate in half, juice in a juicer, and strain into the soup.

8. Cut the remaining pomegranate in half and carefully scoop out the seeds, leaving them intact.

9. Serve the soup in warm soup plates and sprinkle the top with the pomegrante seeds (Peter says, "When I made this, they sank to the bottom, so don't bother with this step :-)

Peter, who's a physician, also said, "This recipe is pretty yummy, and i will give you a free lipid profile at my office after you eat it. :-) (Um, I think the offer was only good for me, so don't get excited.)


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Chuck Taggart   email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com