Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Spring Soup: Fanesca

The Easter holiday is upon us here in Ecuador, and we wouldn't be celebrating the holiday correctly if we didn't include a recipe for the traditional Fanesca dish Ecuadorians enjoy at this time of the year.

The dish is rich but delicious. It is made of twelve grains (representing the twelve disciples) and garnished with hard-boiled eggs, small empanadas, and fried sweet plantains. Dried cod (bacalao) is added, due to the tradition of not eating red meat during the week preceding Easter Sunday (Semana Santa, or Holy Week). The soup stock is made of squash and milk, which gives it a creamy consistency. For some, it is an aquired taste, and recipes may vary from house to house and city to city. (Some families add cabbage, for instance, while others say that "true" Fanesca doens't contain cabbage.) After eating the dish (and seconds or thirds), Ecuadorians will often eat molo (mashed potatoes on a bed of lettuce leaves) and arroz con leche (rice pudding) or dulce de higos (sweet figs in heavy syrup) for dessert. Due to the amount of food, it is reminiscent of U.S. Thanksgiving.

Interested in trying some? Here are a few recipes to try: recipehound's version (contains rice!),'s recipe (rice and peanuts), and a recipe in Spanish (closest to the Fanesca I've tried). Post your comments and tell us what you thought!

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