Stone soup, a traditional freshwater fish soup made in Oaxaca, is cooked using scorching hot stones.
When Sarah Borealis first ate the traditional stone soup from Oaxaca – a fish soup heated with scorching hot rocks — she was reminded of a childhood fable.
“I thought, ‘No way, this is something I’ve only heard about in stories,’” says Borealis, a local visual historian who became fascinated by the ancient tradition while studying in Mexico. Now, Borealis is helping bring the dish to New Orleans diners during a four-day pop-up at Vaughan’s Lounge (4229 Dauphine St., 504-947-5562) next month.
Usually prepared by men, the soup is meant to honor the elders, women and children of the indigenous Chinantec community from which the tradition stems.
“The recipe has remained the same, but the method of preparation has really evolved throughout the years,” says Borealis, who witnessed both the ancient and more modernized methods of preparing the dish while working on her 24-minute documentary film The Path of Stone Soup, which will be shown at the pop-up event.
Chef Cesar Gachupin de Díos and his son Victor Gachupin Velasco, who own and run the restaurant Caldo de Piedra in Oaxaca City, will lead a cooking demonstration, teaching guests how to prepare the soup using stones that Vaughan’s owner Cindy Wood brought back from Mexico last year.
Chef César Gachupin de Díos
Traditionally served in a hollowed-out gourd, the soup is made with red snapper, shrimp, scallops, chilies, cilantro, garlic, tomato and epazote, an herb common in Mexican cooking. Stones, which are heated in an open fire for at least two hours, are dropped into the bowl, instantly bringing the water to boil, cooking the delicate seafood in minutes.
A fire pit set up outside the Bywater bar will become the stage when the father and son team demonstrate how to make the soup. Live music from local artists, drink specials including mezcal cocktails and Victoria beer, and an exhibit of Chinantec textiles also will be featured.
The pop-up is the first in a series of events that aims to raise global awareness of indigenous issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The events take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 6, 7, 9, and 10.
Tickets for the events are $15. Proceeds support the Gachupins attendance at the International Institute of Indigenous Resource Management in Denver, Colorado, where The Path of Stone Soup is an official selection of the 2015 Indigenous Film and Arts Festival.