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Sopa de pata is a Salvadoran soup commonly served as an appetizer in Salvadoran restaurants, or a full meal in Salvadoran homes. Main ingredients in the soup include tripe, yuca, cow's feet, bananas, green beans, onions, and corn. Other sopa de pata ingredients include seasonings such as coriander, garlic, cilantro, and chili powder. Some versions of the soup also include tomatoes, cabbage, and red or green peppers.
The meat in sopa de pata includes cow's feet and tripe, which is a combination of entrails and internal organs from cows, goats, sheep, or pigs. Chef's boil the cow's feet and tripe until cooked. Before adding the meat to the soup pot, the chef dices and boils onions, garlic, and fresh cilantro to create a broth. Boiled cow's feet and tripe are then added to the broth and heated through.
Different sopa de pata recipes call for a different blend of vegetables. Primarily, chef's use sweet corn, green beans, and yuca, a root with a slightly sweet taste. Other sopa de pata recipes include tomatoes, green or red peppers, cabbage, and chayote, which is a pear shaped gourd that has a taste and texture similar to a potato. With the exception of the corn, which most chef's leave on the cob, the vegetables are diced into bite size chunks. After being added to the soup pot, the vegetables simmer in the broth and meat mixture until tender.
Some recipes call for additional spices to be added the sopa de pata to give the soup more flavor. Whole Mexican coriander leaves are often added to the pot during cooking. Many recipes also call for chili powder, which adds a spice to the soup. Chef's also season the soup to taste with salt and pepper after it has finished cooking.
Bananas are sliced into large chunks and added to the soup after the vegetables and meat have cooked through to tenderness. Adding the bananas last keeps the fruit from becoming too mushy or from crumbling in the soup. Lemon juice, which helps the spices and other ingredients blend and adds a tartness to the soups is often added to the sopa de pata following the bananas.
Sopa de pata is served immediately after cooking. The dish can be eaten as an appetizer before a meal, which is common in Salvadoran restaurants. Many people, however, also enjoy the soup as a main dish.