Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sopa de Fideo

Growing up in a Mexican household (in all economic levels) invariably when you got sick, or when you were little or wanted some comfort, the classic of all classics would appear: Sopa de Fideo. Had a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta and not a day went by when an upper class "yuppie" type Mexican would not let me know that he had nostalgic memories of his childhood or his grandmother.... while eating Sopa de Fideo. To this day you will find this on our table, at home, when the flu hits or when a light "merienda" is the answer..... Get fideo (angel hair) pasta from the store. Pick the thinnest you can find, the kind twisted into flat little sections. Make fresh chicken stock (reserve the meat) and make sure you clarify it (take away the foam that comes out until all gone, you might have to do this 2-3 times), or you can use Knorr Chicken Consome Powder (if you have to). Put 2-3 tbls of oil into a deep pan, heat to med-high heat. Throw in the fideo pasta and watch closely. You need to get it well covered by the oil and watch for the first signs of golden brown, this burns quickly so if you want to use the whole bag (I'd use half) you might need to do batches. As soon as the pasta is done, put 1/2 and onion (slices or cubes, whatever), 3-4 cloves of garlic through a garlic press, in the oil and saute 1-2 minutes but don't let the garlic burn..... You could add spearmint leaves or basil or cilantro (each imparts a different flavor tone, choose one), the pasta and chicken stock (make sure you have enough stock to cover the pasta and leave 2-3 inches on top, remember this is a soupy soup), salt and pepper, about 1 cup of catsup (you can omit if you like, my kids like it like this) or tomato sauce and 1 tbl of sugar (for tomato acidity). If the soup boils turn down the heat and simmer about 10-15 minutes (test the pasta by eating a string) and keep stirring to make sure all the strings separate and no clumps remain, should have plenty of pasta, loose and lovely stock. Serve in deep bowls with toasted bolillos, salsa picante and a lemon.

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