Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sopa de Fideo (Receta)

After covering some basics, I believe we're ready for a recipe. I start with this recipe because when I made it, I was not feeling well; acute pharyngitis to be exact. That's doctor-speak for throat infection and because it was viral, there was no medicine the doctor could give me to help. So I turned to a soup for some relief, and it was a godsend.


Sopa de fideo (Noodle soup)
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork chop, center cut
  • 2 boxes of Q & Q brand fideo
    main ingredients of fideo
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/8 cup cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Fiesta Brand Mixed Spice
  • 1, 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes or 2 small cans of chicken broth
  • oil (vegetable, canola)

This recipe makes 4 quarts (16 cups), give or take, and takes about an hour from start to finish. I say give or take because even though the entire family had second servings, we still had enough for another meal the next night (see Leftovers). It is commonly served with corn tortillas and refried beans.

garlic and mixed spice
First, add the Mixed Spice, 2 cloves of garlic, and a little bit of water (enough to wet the mixture) to the molcajete. Then grind the spices until they are fine.
garlic and mixed spice, ground




Next, take the time and cut the pork chop into cubes (for faster cooking), cut up the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro. I suggest that all this chopping is done beforehand so that you're not trying to cook, watch what you're cooking, and cut up what is needed next. Furthermore, because this is a soup and most of ingredients are added one right after the other or at the same time, it's easier to have them ready to go.

chopped pork chop, bell pepper, onion, tomato, and cilantro for fideo

Now, you're ready to getting started cooking. Cover the bottom of a 4-quart (or larger) pot with oil, heating it on low until it is hot. Add the pork chop, dashing with salt, and cooking on medium heat. Cook the pork chop thoroughly until it is browned. When it is all cooked through, spoon it out of the skillet and into a bowl (you can line the bowl with paper towels to absorb excess oil, if you want). 


cooked pork chop
In the same pot that you cooked the pork, add a little more oil, just enough to cover the bottom, and heat over medium-low heat. Then add the fideo one box at a time to the pot. Let the fideo start to fry a little and then begin stirring it. The goal is to fry the fideo in the oil until it turns brown. Not all of the fideo will darken to the same brown color and that is OK. Continue stirring until a good portion of the fideo is browned.


Top, fideo in the box; bottom left, fideo uncooked; bottom right, fideo browned
Before the fideo burns (which will happen), take 1 cup of water and pour over the molcajete with spices, tilting the molcajete so that the water pushes the spices into the pot. If spices are still left in the molcajete, take another cup of water and pour over the molcajete to get the last of the spices out. Then add the cooked pork, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and cilantro to the pot. Add another 2 cups of water to the pot with 1 cube of chicken bouillon (you can use chicken broth instead) and the can of tomato sauce. At this point, the pot will be about half full and colorful.


Fideo with all mix-ins

Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then add another 2 to 4 cups of water and another bouillon cube (again you can use chicken broth instead). The fideo will start to thicken, absorbing the liquid. Cover and continue cooking on medium-low heat for 20 to 30 more minutes, until the vegetables are cooked down and the noodles are soft.

Then simply pour into a bowl, let it cool, and enjoy with some tortillas.


fideo, cooked and in my bowl

I know not all recipes call for pork or even any vegetables, and the sopa is a thick tomato sauce-like broth with noodles; I do not take anything away from those versions of fideo. This, however, is the recipe I grew up with and it's how I make it. You can also use ground beef or chicken instead of the pork. My mother did make it once for me with ground beef, but I didn't like it as much as I like the pork version.

Leftovers
My 4-quart pot held enough for two meals, even after we'd all had second servings. The next day, however, you will note that the fideo has absorbed even more of the liquid. To remedy this, first heat the fideo in a pot to see how  much liquid there is; this batch still had a decent amount but I added two cups of water and 1 chicken bouillon cube to keep it the "soupy" consistency my family likes. However, it can be eaten , even if it's more noodle than soup, as is on the second go round.

There you have it, the first "real" receta (recipe) of the blog. Let me know if you try it, have any questions, or if you make your fideo another way.

¡Hasta la proxíma vez!

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