AT A GLANCE
This Ecuadorian soup is typically served at Easter, and is ideal for a crowd. Traditionally 12 varieties of bean are used, representing the apostles, but use any mix you like, and whatever vegetables are in season. Look for salt cod that isn't too dry - a thick fillet or side is best. Very dry fish take more soaking.
|01||Boil beans in a large saucepan until just tender (20-25 minutes), then drain and set aside.|
|02||Heat oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add onion and sauté until soft and translucent (10-12 minutes). Add garlic, stir until fragrant (2-3 minutes), then stir in achiote paste and cumin, and stir constantly until toasted (2-4 minutes). Add milk, 2 litres stock and cooked beans and simmer gently uncovered until beans are very tender (30-35 minutes). Add pumpkin, lentils and rice, and stir to combine, then add salt cod and remaining stock, and simmer until lentils, rice and cod are tender (15-20 minutes). Season to taste, stir in peas and zucchini, and cook until just tender (2-4 minutes). Remove salt cod from soup, break into bite-sized pieces, then return to soup.|
|03||Ladle soup into bowls, top with coriander, jalapeños, hard-boiled egg and ground chilli, drizzle with olive oil and serve with lime wedges.|
Achiote or annatto paste, made from the seeds of the annatto tree, is available online from Fireworks Foods (fireworksfoods.com.au).