Last Updated on October 13, 2023
Sopa de caracol, or conch soup, is a traditional soup from the Caribbean nation of Panama. This flavorful soup combines a variety of ingredients, including conch, vegetables, and seasonings, to create a hearty and flavorful meal.
While it is typically served as a main course, it can also be enjoyed as an appetizer or side dish. Whether you’re looking to experience the flavor of Panamanian cuisine or just want to make a delicious soup, sopa de caracol is a great choice.
What is Sopa de Caracol?
Sopa de caracol is a traditional Panamanian soup that is made with conch, vegetables, and seasonings. The recipe varies depending on the region, but the most common ingredients are conch, carrots, onions, garlic, cilantro, and spices.
The soup is typically made with either chicken or beef broth, but some recipes call for fish broth as well. The broth is flavored with a combination of herbs and spices, such as achiote oil, which gives the soup a bright orange color.
What does it taste like
Sopa de caracol has a unique and flavorful taste. The broth is savory and full of flavor, with hints of garlic and herbs.
The conch is tender and meaty, and the vegetables add a hearty texture to the soup. The seasonings give it a slight kick, and it is often served with a dollop of sour cream or crema fresca for added richness.
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Conch: This is the main ingredient in sopa de caracol. It can be found at seafood markets or specialty stores. If you are unable to find fresh conch, frozen or canned conch will also work.
Vegetables: The soup is typically made with a variety of vegetables such as carrots, celery, and green bananas. These add texture and flavor to the soup.
Seasonings: Garlic, onions, and hot peppers are the key seasonings in sopa de caracol. They add depth of flavor and a hint of spice to the soup.
Broth: The broth is typically made with either chicken or beef broth, but some recipes call for fish broth as well. This adds richness to the soup.
Herbs and Spices: Achiote oil, cilantro, and Chinese cilantro are commonly used in sopa de caracol to add a unique flavor and aroma to the dish.
Step 1: Boil the water:
In a large Dutch oven, bring water to a boil and add the conch. Boil for 30 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, remove from heat and let it cool.
Step 2: Cook the vegetables:
In a separate pot, cook the vegetables in margarine over medium heat until they are tender.
Step 3: Add the conch:
Once the vegetables are tender, add the chopped conch and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Step 4: Add the broth and seasonings:
Pour in the chicken consommé mixture, coconut milk, and achiote oil into the pot with the vegetables and conch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Add the cassava:
Once the broth has simmered for 10 minutes, add the cassava and continue cooking until tender.
Step 6: Finish with green bananas:
Finally, add the sliced green bananas and let them simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Step 7: Season to taste:
Before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 8: Serve and garnish:
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with chopped cilantro and Chinese cilantro. Enjoy your homemade sopa de caracol!
• Make sure to clean the conch thoroughly before adding it to the soup.
• To make the soup spicier, add some red pepper flakes or jalapenos.
• For a vegetarian version of the soup, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
• To make the soup thicker, add a bit more cornstarch to the soup.
• To make the soup creamier, add some coconut milk or cream.
• To make the soup healthier, add some fresh greens such as kale or spinach.
One serving of sopa de caracol provides approximately
What to serve with Sopa de Caracol?
• White rice
• Fried plantains
• Avocado slices
• Corn tortillas
• Slice of lime
• Pico de gallo
• Hot sauce
How to store leftover Sopa de Caracol?
Leftover sopa de caracol can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pot over low heat.
What other substitutes can I use in Sopa de Caracol?
• Carrots – parsnips, turnips, or rutabaga
• Broth – vegetable broth, fish broth, or beef broth
• Tomatoes – canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, or tomato sauce
• Herbs – oregano, thyme, or basil
• Spices – chili powder, cayenne, or red pepper flakes
- Dutch oven
- 4 lb conch
- 4 cubes chicken consommé
- 4 lb sliced cassava
- 6 green sliced bananas
- 6 sliced carrots
- 6 celery stalks sliced
- 2 cup milk
- 6 crushed cloves garlic
- 4 chopped large white onions
- 2 roughly chopped small green bell pepper
- 4 chopped green hot peppers
- 4 cans coconut milk
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 bunch Chinese cilantro
- 10 tablespoons margarine
- 2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons achiote oil
- In a large Dutch oven, bring water to a boil and add the conch. Boil for 30 minutes or until tender.
- Once cooked, remove from heat and let it cool. Once cooled, chop the conch into small pieces.
- In a separate pot, add the chicken consommé cubes to 2 cups of water and let them dissolve.
- In another large pot, melt margarine over medium heat and add garlic, onions, bell pepper, hot peppers, celery, and carrots. Cook until vegetables are tender.
- Add the chopped conch and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken consommé mixture, coconut milk, and achiote oil into the pot with the vegetables and conch.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add cassava and continue cooking until tender.
- Finally, add the green bananas and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and Chinese cilantro on top.
- Enjoy your homemade sopa de caracol!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make sopa de caracol vegetarian?
Yes, you can make sopa de caracol vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Can I freeze sopa de caracol?
Yes, sopa de caracol can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
What other ingredients can be added to sopa de caracol?
You can add a variety of vegetables such as kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, parsnips, turnips, or rutabaga. You can also add herbs such as oregano, thyme, or basil, as well as spices such as chili powder, cayenne, or red pepper flakes.
Can I substitute the conch in sopa de caracol?
Yes, you can substitute the conch with shrimp, crab, or lobster.
Can I make sopa de caracol ahead of time?
Yes, you can make sopa de caracol ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Sopa de caracol is a delicious and satisfying soup that is perfect for any occasion. With its unique blend of ingredients and flavors, it truly captures the essence of traditional Panamanian cuisine.
Now that you know how to make it, why not give it a try? You won’t be disappointed!
So next time you’re in the mood for a warm and comforting soup, consider making sopa de caracol. Your taste buds will thank you.