Ingredients

4 large conchs, 4 potatoes medium diced, 3 medium cocos diced, 1 medium onion, 1 clove garlic chopped and crushed, a large carrot diced, 2 tbsps green pepper, 1 slice bacon diced, 2 tbsps flour, 2 tbsps cooking oil (can use olive oil), 1 tsp shortening, 1 green plantain sliced, 1 green plantain grated, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tsp thyme.

Method

Clean conch with lime juice. Place on cutting board and pound with meat mallet. In a saucepan drop conch in boiling water for one minute only. Discard water. Heat oil, add flour and stir until brown making a roux. Add 3 cups of water, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add salt to taste, and thyme, diced coco, potatoes, carrots and sliced plantain. As soon as soup comes to a boil, turn down heat to medium. Cover pot and let simmer.

Now prepare dumplings made from the green plantains. Grate plantains and add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of shortening. Form into little balls and drop into soup. Stir pot occasionally.

As soon as vegetables in soup are just about tender, add coconut milk and conch. Cook and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Serve piping hot.This is a hearty and wholesome soup that can stand on its own. You can add a side serving of white rice or hot corn tortillas. Conch season opens in October and runs to June so this is a great soup for cold weather!

For that extra Belizean flavour you may add 1/2 tsp or less of anato (recado) for a little color and a little cilantro. Some cooks add 1/2 tsp of paprika and 2 peeled tomatoes.



BELIZEAN CONCH SOUP

Ingredients:

  • At least a pound or two of cleaned, tenderized conch cut into big bite sized pieces.
  • One salt brined piece of pigtail or other similar salty pork product.
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Some kind of what we call in Belize "Groundfoods". Sweet potato, coco-yam, cassava, breadfruit or green banana or plantain can be used, cut into large chunks so they wont dissolve as they cook.
  • Some firm ripe plantain to add a sweet balance to the dish
  • If you want to throw in okra, chayote or any other addition, feel free. This dish is flexible.
  • Tomatoes are a common addition to the pot if you desire.
  • Flour
  • Coconut oil
  • Seasonings: I like cilantro or culantro and a big leafed tropical oregano that is common throughout Belize and which some people call "thyme". Fresh ground black pepper. The brined pigtail is salty, so dont add salt til you have tasted the finished product.

Procedure:

1. Cut up the pigtail into pieces and heat up several tablespoons of coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Toss in the pigtail and 3-4 tablespoons of flour and stir vigorously until the flour-oil mixture turns a medium brown.

2. Add chopped up onion, garlic, sweet pepper, ground foods and other ingredients (okra, tomatoes, whatever else you are adding) except for the conch. Saute for a few minutes then add water to cover the ingredients.

3. Simmer until the groundfoods are cooked through then add the ripe plantain and conch and cook until tender.

4. Serve with habanero pepper sauce and a cold glass of lime juice to cut the heaviness of the meal. Traditionally rice cooked with coconut milk is served with these hearty stews, but it is already filling without that addition.

In Belize this is a dish that is considered to help cure a hangover and also is thought to improve sexual stamina and performance. It also happens to be delicious.


Chico Ramos - The Original Conch Soup