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05/31/2020

~Souper Mexican-Style Noodle Soup (Sopa de Fideo)~

IMG_2789To the best of my knowledge, every culture has a special feel-good soup recipe known for its powers and abilities to right wrong, or, transform bad into good.  More often than not, it's a relatively easy-to-prepare recipe that is said to quickly quell hunger pangs, turn angst into calm, cure a hangover or a flu, or, simply soothe the soul on a damp or cold day. Sopa de fideo is, perhaps, Mexico's most famous comfort-soup recipe, and, it's said to have come to Mexico via the Spanish residents of Cavite (a province located in the Philippines) in the 1600s. 

In Spanish, "sopa" means "soup" & "fideo" means "noodles".

IMG_2737Sopa de fideo loosely translates to noodle soup. That said, not just any noodles can be used.  It's made with fideo noodles. These are fine noodles, usually made with durum wheat and water, rolled, then cut into about 1"-1 1/2" pieces and dried. The soup can be made with (homemade or store-bought) beef, chicken or vegetable stock (there is no right or wrong on this point) plus (fresh or canned) tomatoes and spices, but, the part that makes this Mexican noodle soup authentic is toasting the fideo noodles in a bit of oil before making the soup.

In English, a few pantry staples + fideo = fantastic Mexican-style noodle soup, in minutes, from start-to-finish. 

IMG_27392  tablespoons achiote vegetable oil (a yellow-orange hued oil that gets is color from annatto), or any plain (clear) ordinary vegetable oil

8  ounces fideo noodles

2  tablespoons fajita seasoning, homemade or store-bought*

1/4  teaspoon jalapeño pepper

6  cups unsalted vegetable stock

2  14 1/2-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1  cup diced yellow onion

2-3  large cloves garlic

1/2-ounce bouquet garni of flavor-packed cilantro stems, reserve the leaves for garnish

1-1 1/2  teaspoons sea salt, more or less, to taste (optional) (Note:  Depending on the amount of salt in the fajita seasoning, which varies from recipe-to-recipe and manufacturer-to-manufacturer, it may or may not be necessary to add additional salt to the soup stock.)

lime wedges and/or cilantro sprigs, for garnishes

*Note:  Fajita seasoning is the perfect all-purpose seasoning blend for this Mexican-soup or almost any Mexican soup.  After all, its purpose is to season beef or chicken and all the yummy vegetables that typically season fajitas -- all the same ingredients that show up in Mexican-style soups.  When I used store-bought fajita seasoning to make this soup, I use McCormick brand.

IMG_2743 IMG_2743 IMG_2743 IMG_2743~Step 1.  In a 3 1/2-quart wide-bottomed Dutch oven or similarly-shaped chef's pan with straight, deep sides, heat oil over medium- medium-high heat.  Add the fideo.  Using a large spoon, sauté the noodles, stirring constantly, until light golden in color, 3 1/2-4 minutes.  Turn heat off.

IMG_2745 IMG_2745~ Step 2.  In a food processor fitted with steel blade, place the fire-roasted diced tomatoes, diced onion, garlic cloves, fajita seasoning and jalapeño pepper powder.  Using a series of 25-30 rapid on-off pulses, process to a thin sauce.  Set aside.

IMG_2758 IMG_2758 IMG_2758 IMG_2758~Step 3.  Return heat under fideo to medium-, medium-high.  Add the stock, followed by the tomato sauce and the cilantro-stem bouquet garni.  Adjust heat to a gentle steady simmer.

IMG_2767 IMG_2767 IMG_2767 IMG_2767 IMG_2767~Step 4.  Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes, until fideo is al dente.  Turn the heat off and cover the pot.  Allow the soup to steep for 8-10 more minutes, to allow soup to thicken slightly and flavors to marry a bit.  Serve immediately.  Note:  Leftovers continue to thicken.  Reheat leftovers on the stovetop adding additional vegetable stock as required.

Meet the Mexican-style oodles-of-noodles bowl.  Cha-cha-cha.  What a perfect middle-of-, or, end-of the day pick-me-up.

IMG_2793Souper Mexican-Style Noodle Soup (Sopa de Fideo):  Recipe yields 3-quarts soup/6-8 servings.

Special Equipment List: 3 1/2-quart wide-bottomed Dutch oven or chef's pan w/lid; cutting board; chef's knife; food processor or blender; kitchen-safe twine; soup ladle

6a0120a8551282970b0240a47da212200dCook's Note: When I use my crockpot, it's not because I have no time to cook, it's because what I'm letting it cook for me, without compromise, is really good.  It's no secret, I've never been a crockpot kinda gal, but, over the past few years I've mellowed.  For one of our family's favorite Tex-Mex-style soups, try ~ Easy-Does-It: Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup ~.  Using pantry staples, this recipe takes almost no time to put in the crock and tastes reminiscent of a tasty trip South of the border.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

Comments

Good morning Ann -- I buy McCormick Fajita Seasoning (in packets) at the grocery store -- Old El Paso is good too -- each packet contains about 3 tablespoons. McCormick Jalapeño pepper powder is also available in my grocery stores. That said, I know how the Tamaqua area stores are for shopping (not as diverse as here), so, there's always on-line shopping. ~ Mel.

My hubby would adore this. Where can I get the spice you mentioned? Love your recipes. Annie

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