Fanesca: Ecuadorian Easter Soup

ecuadorFanesca is a traditional Ecuadorian soup that is only eaten in the week before Easter. Fanesca is a heavy soup filled with vegetables and grains (lima beans, fava beans, lentils, corn, pumpkin, squash, quinoa, plantains and more), many of which are only regionally available in the Spring. I suspect Brazilian and Portuguese palates would appreciate this dish due to the inclusion of salted cod, which needs to be soaked for 24 hours to make the soup stockLaylita’s Recipes has a good history and recipe for FanescaCalvin Trillian has a longer story for the New Yorker about his experiences sampling Fanesca as a foreigner living in Cuenca, Ecuador

Being able to say anything I wanted to in Spanish before the moment had passed was what I’d been daydreaming about. I was thinking of the day when my response to a particularly good fanesca (the only kind of fanesca I’ve ever experienced) would no longer be limited to “delicious” or “very tasty, thank you.” I could envision myself pushing back from the table and making a statement to the waiter that was as complex as the dish itself—something like “I can’t take leave of this glorious establishment without saying, in utmost sincerity, that the fanesca I’ve just had the honor of consuming made my heart soar, or at least go pitter-patter, and I want to emphasize that each and every bean had a valiant role to play in what was, when all is said and done, a perfectly blended and modulated work of art.” In that daydream, the waiter is so impressed by my eloquence that he offers me seconds. I decline, with a short speech that reminds him of something he once read in a story by Jorge Luis Borges. [The New Yorker]

Typical Fanesca from Ecuador – Via Wikipedia

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