Chochoyotes con Verduras (Masa Dumplings with Vegetables)

Source: Adapted from Esteban Castillo, Chicano Eats

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This kid-friendly recipe was adapted from Chicano Eats: Recipes from My Mexican-American Kitchen by Esteban Castillo. It was prepared in our Foodwise Kids & Families program.

If using cranberry beans, black beans, or kidney beans, be mindful that the colors from the beans can “bleed” into soup, which may cause discoloration. We highly recommend pinto, black-eyed peas, Italian butter, Sorana, or navy beans.

Serves 6


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup (2-3 carrots) sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dried beans (see note above), soaked overnight and cooked; or 1 (16-ounce) can beans, rinsed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
25 chochoyotes (recipe below)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1¾ cups corn masa
2 tablespoons lard
1½ teaspoon kosher salt      


Chop up your veggies and measure them out.

Make the soup: In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant, then add the beans, thyme sprigs, cilantro, kosher salt, pepper, celery salt, oregano, and 8 cups water and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, make the chochoyotes: In a bowl, use your hands to combine the masa, 1 cup water, lard, and salt. Break off 25 tablespoon-sized pieces and roll them into balls. Carefully use your thumb to make a crater in the center of each to ensure they cook evenly, then set aside and cover with a damp towel until you’re ready to cook them.

After the soup has been cooking for 30 minutes, remove the thyme sprigs and reduce the heat under the soup to the lowest simmer possible. Add the chochoyotes, making sure they’re fully submerged in the broth, and cook gently for 30 minutes. They should puff up slightly but not change too much in appearance.

Once the dumplings are cooked, add the peas to the soup and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Adjust the salt to taste and serve. 

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