I’ve got this great soup recipe to show you. It came from a local woodfire restaurant called Fuego Mundo. I’d been there a few times before, since it’s a five-minute walk from my apartment, but I didn’t know until recently that the menu is mostly gluten free and full of veggie/vegan options. (I didn’t have any reason to know, so I’m not ashamed or anything. I’m just documenting my ignorance.) Apparently, I’m not the only one who didn’t know: in a bid to get the word out, the owners invited the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Alliance down for an afternoon of tasting, and had us decide as a group what to include in the ideal Fuego Mundo gluten free meal.
I had come from a morning of shoe shopping with my mom, so my already-good day barreled forward into a fun afternoon with my fellow bloggers. Fuego Mundo’s owner Masha and marketing guru/host Patricia treated us very nicely, sharing the background of the restaurant and menu while we all sampled their red and white sangrias, plantain chips, and tons of oak-fired meats and healthy sides. We ate and ate and ate and ate and then we had dessert.
The group put it to a vote and decided what meal combination we’d put our AFBA Seal of Excellence on: the red sangria, yucca fries, skirt steak, and black beans and quinoa with baked plantains or black beans and yellow rice with fried plantains (there was a tie). Oh, plus lovely flan for dessert. So say we all.
I do want to mention that there’s a vegetable stir fry side option with broccoli and onions over quinoa which I loved and very highly recommend, and if it came with plantains, it would be my hands-down winner. No question. But a girl has got to have her plantains. So if I were you I’d get the veggie lover’s side option and then also order a whole bunch of baked plantains to go with it, but since I am me, I will instead order some very reasonable and dainty amount of food—or at least that’s what I’m going to say on the Internet.
Fuego Mundo gave me Masha’s recipe for Latin vegetable soup on my way out, as if a full belly wasn’t enough. I read the recipe in the car after I left Fuego Mundo and it was intriguing, so I bought the ingredients on the way home. While some friends watched the Super Bowl upstairs, I made a big pot of soup, and after all was said and done, I’m pretty sure I ended up with the better bowl.
Notes: Everything that simply says “chop” or “cut” should be made into bite-size, soup-appropriate pieces. I notated the recipe in the places where I felt like I, ever the novice at interesting ingredients like yucca, needed a little extra guidance. Also, I added chorizo to the recipe, which was a little bit insolent of me but it seemed like it would complement the recipe terribly well and I have to be honest: it did. Sure, it flies in the face of everything a good vegetable soup stands for, but as long as you’re still eating vegetables, I don’t see much of a problem. The soup is lovely with or without the addition.
Fuego Mundo’s Sancocho (Latin Vegetable Soup)
Makes lots and lots
- 2 medium-size yucca roots
- 1 cup vegetable stock (Masha’s note: Use gluten-free vegetable stock to make the entire recipe gluten-free)
- 6 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
- 5 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 8 quarts water
- 2 large white onions, cut into chunks
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut
- 2 yellow plantains, peeled and cut
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (Note: I used only about 1/3 of the large bunch that they sell at Publix)
- 2 links of chorizo, optional (Adding chorizo is a departure from vegetable soup, and obviously will destroy any hope of the soup being vegan as intended, but it is also tasty, so that’s your call.)
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut up
- Peel the yucca roots and cut them into large chunks. Steam them for about 20 minutes or until barely fork-tender. Continue with the recipe while they steam; when they’re finished, remove them from the heat and cut them into “finger sizes,” as the recipe calls for.
- In a large stockpot, bring the stock, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, lemon and water to a boil.
- Add onions, carrots, plantains, and cilantro. Boil for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the optional chorizo (if using) into bite-size pieces and brown in a hot pan. Drain off any grease.
- Add optional browned chorizo, broccoli and prepared yucca to the stockpot and boil for 30 minutes more.
- Remove from heat and let stand for an hour before serving. Serving suggestion: Hot sauce!