Chipilín Soup with Masa and Fresh Cheese Dumplings
6to 8 servings
Sopa de Chipilín con Bolitas de Masa y Queso
3/4cupwhite onion, chopped
1serrano chile, finely chopped, seeding optional, add more or less to taste
3cupsfresh corn kernels or thawed from frozen
3cupspacked chipilín leaves, rinsed
2cupscorn masa flour, or Maseca
8ouncesor about 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled, may substitute for farmer's cheese or a mild feta
1/2cupvegetable shortening or lard
1/2teaspoonkosher or coarse sea salt, divided
Mexican cream, optional to garnish
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has completely softened, the edges have begun to slightly brown and there is a sweet smell stemming from the pot. Add the chile, stir and cook for another couple minutes. Toss in the corn, stir and let it cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth. While it comes to a simmer, prepare the masa for the dumplings.
In a bowl, combine the corn masa flour with the water, the vegetable shortening and a pinch of salt. Combine and knead with your hands until the dough is soft and homogenous, it will take a minute. Add the crumbled queso fresco and knead into the dough.
Once the soup comes to a gentle simmer, add the chipilín leaves. Once it is heated through, lower the heat to low and start shaping the dumplings. With your hands, make about 1 to 1½" balls, as you make them, gently drop them into the soup. Once you are done with all the balls, let the soup cook for about 20 more minutes. It should be gently simmering. The balls should be cooked through and as they cooked in the soup they should have thickened to the consistency of a thin porridge. But it will be a most delicious one! Serve hot. You may garnish with some fresh cream on top of each individual soup bowl.