International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Sopa de Caracol

Bowl of sopa de caracol

(Honduran conch and vegetable soup)

Image Creative Commons by intimaralem85

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Conch (pronounced "conk") is a large sea snail popular as seafood around the Caribbean. The Garifuna people of Honduras' Caribbean coast cook up conch in sopa de caracol, with chopped conch floating in a coconut-scented broth with chunks of tomato, plantain and yuca root.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Onions, chopped -- 2
  • Green bell peppers, chopped -- 2
  • Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2 cups
  • Water or fish or chicken stock -- 4 cups
  • Yuca root (cassava), peeled and cut into chunks -- 1 pound
  • Green plantains or bananas, peeled and cut into chunks -- 2
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 3
  • Conch meat, chopped -- 1 1/2 pounds
  • Coconut milk -- 2 cups
  • Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 bunch
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the onions and peppers and saute until the onions are wilted and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Add the water or stock, yuca, plantains and carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through but still firm.
  3. Stir in the conch meat, coconut milk, cilantro, salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Do not overcook or the conch will get tough.
  4. Serve hot in large bowls with warm corn tortillas and hot pepper sauce on the side.

Sopa de Caracol Variations

  • Conch substitute: Canned conch can often be found in Caribbean and some Central American markets. If you can't find conch, try substituting chopped clams. They have a similar texture and flavor.
  • Stock: You can use plain water for your sopa de caracol if you like, but the flavor will be much better if you use basic chicken stock or a fish or seafood stock. Bottled clam juice is a good substitute for homemade seafood stock.
  • Sopa marinera (Seafood soup): Use firm-fleshed fish, crab or shrimp instead of the conch.
  • Substitute waxy potatoes for the yuca root if you like.

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