October 1st signaled the opening of the Caribbean Queen Conch season in Belize and what better way to commemorate this shellfish than a hearty Conch Soup. It is by far one of the most sought after dish in this region especially in restaurants and resorts countrywide. If you wondered how to make it, we have you covered. Simply follow these short steps and get to cooking!
WHAT YOU NEED:
4 lg. conchs
3 med. Cocoa (diced)
1 clove garlic (chopped and smashed)
1 lg. carrot (diced)
1 slice bacon (diced)
1 green plantain (sliced)
1 green plantain (grated)
1 tsp. thyme
1 med. Onion
2 tbsp. green pepper
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. shortening
1 cup coconut milk
*Clean conch. Set on cutting board and pound with a meat mallet. In a saucepan, boil conch for just a minute. Discard water.
*Heat oil, add flour and stir until flour is brown, making a roux.
*Add 3 cups of water a little a time, stirring constantly.
*Add salt, pepper, thyme, diced cocoa, carrots and sliced plantain.
*As soon as soup comes to a boil, turn heat down to medium. Cover pot and let simmer.
*Meanwhile, prepare dumplings of plantains – Grate plantain and add a teaspoon of shortening and a pinch of salt. Form in little balls and drop in soup. Stir pot occasionally.
* As soon as vegetables are just about tender, add coconut milk and conch. Cook and simmer for about 15 minutes longer.
*Be sure to serve soup while hot with a side of coconut white rice and lime wedges– ENJOY!
*OPTIONAL: Skimmed milk may be substituted for coconut milk. In Belize we like to use a ½ teaspoon of anato or prepared recado for a little color. A ½ teaspoon of paprika and 2 peeled tomatoes may also be added at the same time as the potatoes.
*For some heat, you can add any of Hot Mama’s Belize pepper products or whole habaneros.
TIP: Green plantains tend to blacken around the nails. Do not wet the plantain before peeling and rub a little lime or lemon juice all over fingers before preparing.