El SalvadorDishSopa de Pata

Sopa de Pata Recipe: A Hearty Delight from El Salvador

Sopa de pata, or beef foot soup, is a beloved and hearty dish in El Salvador that warms the soul with its rich flavors and comforting aroma. This traditional soup is made with beef or pork feet simmered to tender perfection, along with a medley of vegetables, herbs, and spices. In this article, we’ll explore the authentic recipe for sopa de pata, including the essential ingredients and step-by-step preparation process.


  1. Beef or Pork Feet: The main ingredient of sopa de pata, beef or pork feet provide the rich and gelatinous base for the soup. You can typically find them at butcher shops or specialty meat markets.

  2. Water: Used to simmer the beef or pork feet until tender and to create the broth for the soup.

  3. Vegetables: Sopa de pata typically includes a variety of vegetables, such as:

    • Onions: Adds sweetness and depth of flavor to the broth.
    • Carrots: Adds sweetness and a pop of color to the soup.
    • Celery: Adds savory notes and aromatic flavor.
    • Bell Peppers: Adds sweetness and a subtle peppery flavor.
    • Tomatoes: Adds acidity and richness to the broth.
    • Garlic: Adds pungent flavor and aroma to the soup.
  4. Herbs and Spices: Sopa de pata is seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, such as:

    • Bay Leaves: Adds earthy flavor and aroma to the broth.
    • Cilantro: Adds freshness and brightness to the soup.
    • Oregano: Adds earthy and floral notes to the broth.
    • Salt and Pepper: Enhances the overall flavor of the soup.
  5. Optional Garnishes: Sopa de pata can be garnished with additional ingredients for added flavor and texture, such as:

    • Chopped Cilantro: Adds freshness and brightness to the soup.
    • Sliced Green Onions: Adds a mild onion flavor and a pop of color.
    • Lime Wedges: Adds acidity and freshness to the soup.


  1. Prepare the Beef or Pork Feet:

    • Start by thoroughly cleaning the beef or pork feet under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.
    • Trim off any excess fat or skin from the feet using a sharp knife, then cut them into smaller pieces, if necessary, to fit into the pot.
  2. Simmer the Beef or Pork Feet:

    • In a large pot, combine the beef or pork feet with enough water to cover them completely. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the feet for 2-3 hours, or until they are tender and the meat is falling off the bones.
    • Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface of the water during the cooking process.
  3. Prepare the Vegetables:

    • While the beef or pork feet are simmering, prepare the vegetables. Peel and chop the onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.
    • Mince the garlic cloves and set aside.
  4. Add the Vegetables and Seasonings:

    • Once the beef or pork feet are tender, add the chopped vegetables, minced garlic, bay leaves, and oregano to the pot.
    • Season the soup generously with salt and pepper, adjusting the amounts to taste.
  5. Continue Simmering the Soup:

    • Allow the soup to simmer over low heat for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
    • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, adding more salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Serve the Sopa de Pata:

    • Once the soup is ready, remove the pot from the heat and discard the bay leaves.
    • Ladle the sopa de pata into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced green onions, if desired.
    • Serve the soup hot with lime wedges on the side for squeezing over individual portions.

Tips and Variations:

  • For a richer and more flavorful broth, you can roast the beef or pork feet in the oven before simmering them in water. Simply place the cleaned and trimmed feet on a baking sheet and roast them in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 30-45 minutes, or until they are browned and caramelized.
  • Feel free to customize the soup by adding additional vegetables or herbs according to your taste preferences. You can also add potatoes, cabbage, or squash for extra heartiness.
  • To save time, you can prepare the soup in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for longer-term storage. Reheat the soup gently on the stovetop before serving, adding a splash of water or broth if needed to thin it out.
  • Sopa de pata is traditionally served as a main course or as a hearty meal on its own, but you can also serve it with a side of rice, tortillas, or crusty bread for a complete and satisfying meal.

In conclusion, sopa de pata is a comforting and nourishing dish that celebrates the flavors and culinary traditions of El Salvador. With its tender beef or pork feet, flavorful broth, and hearty vegetables, this traditional soup is sure to warm your heart and soul with each spoonful. So why not give this authentic Salvadoran recipe a try and savor the delicious taste of sopa de pata?

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