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Sopa de Fideo (Vermicelli Soup)

May 21, 2014

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The fideo,  or vermicelli I grew up with was more of a Tex-Mex version my mom and grandma prepared for us.  It is served as a side along with frijoles and whatever the meat of the day was, whether it be picadillo, carne guisada, or tacos.  It is simple delicious  food, fideo being the pasta of choice for us when we want to stay in our “comfort” zone.  Our family’s version, called sopa seca de fideo, is on my list to make for a post.  Another way is to make it more of a soup.  The basic traditional method is to brown the vermicelli in oil and add a puree of raw tomatoes, onions, and garlic.  It is then simmered in broth with desired spices until the vermicelli is done.  Meat or vegetables may be added as an option.  For this version,  I’m adapting techniques for making salsas.  It is well worth the extra effort in roasting the tomato,  garlic,  and dried chiles to get that extra depth of flavor.  Since I’ve been keeping on a vegetarian path,  I’m adding  additional roasted vegetables to make it more of a complete meal.  Vegetarian Tex-Mex is something of an oxymoron isn’t it?

As I was working on this, Sonal from simplyvegetarian777 posted the very tasty looking Savory Vermicelli/Namkeen Jawe ,  her comfort food version of vermicelli.  It was an eye-opener for me to see it flavored with Indian spices!

 

This recipe makes about 5-6 cups of soup.

2# Tomatoes

1 small onion (about 8 ounces)

3 medium unpeeled garlic cloves

1 small bay leaf

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 ancho chile

1/2 (dry)chipotle chile

8 cups vegetable stock (or water with vegetable bouillon)

5 ounces fideo (vermicelli)

salt to taste

 

Optional vegetables:

eggplant

Mexican squash (or other favorite squash)

ear of corn

carrots

 

Optional fresh herbs to garnish:

Cilantro

Oregano

Epazote

 

Roast the vegetables:

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and put them cut side up on a lightly oiled baking pan.  Roast them in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. They should lose some volume and turn a slightly darker color.  Remove and let cool.

Slice the onion  lengthwise in 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick pieces.  Place them on a heavy skillet or comal that is heated over a low-medium fire.  Let them slowly pan roast, turning them from time to time.  They should soften and perhaps slightly char in some spots.  Remove and let cool.  Do the same with the garlic cloves.  They will also soften up.  Peel them when they are cool enough to handle.

Remove the seeds from the dried peppers.  Put them on the heavy skillet and press  down with a metal spatula to toast them. With a hot skillet it should take only seconds. Turn them over to toast the other side.

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Place the tomatoes,  onion,  and garlic in a blender.  Pour enough of the vegetable broth to cover the vegetables.  Puree,  adding more broth as  necessary to make a smooth mixture.  Pour it into deep pan,  add the rest of the broth,  and bring to a boil.  Immediately lower to a simmer.  Add the bay leaf and dried oregano and continue to simmer until it reduces by about 1/3.  It should still have enough liquid to boil the pasta.

While the soup is simmering,   heat a pan over medium heat and add a couple of tablespoons of oil.  Lightly brown the fideo and remove from the pan. Drain if necessary. You may have to work in 2 batches.

At this point you can also roast the optional vegetables.  The vegetables in my list are just suggestions.  You may have other ideas.  Cut them into small dice and toss with olive oil,  salt and pepper.   Lay them on a baking pan and roast in a 400 degree oven until done.  You may also choose to simply sauté the vegetables in a pan.  If using corn,  roast with the husk on until done. Don’t let it overcook to the point of wrinkling.  Slice the kernels from the cob.

Put the cooled down vermicelli into the readied soup and simmer until the pasta is cooked al dente,  about 15-20  minutes.  If the soup is too thick, you can add more broth. Season with salt.

To serve, ladle the soup in an individual bowl,  add the roasted vegetables and garnish with chopped cilantro,  oregano,  or epazote.   Crumbled Mexican cheese is optional but I’m keeping this vegan.  Serve with Mexican bread rolls,  French bread or a similar nice crusty loaf.

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Epazote is a distinctive pungent herb that is used in Mexican cooking.  It is often used for example in black bean or tortilla soups.  Many like to simmer it in the soups.  I like the pungency of the fresh epazote  and so use it as garnish.  Look for it in a Latin supermarket.   It is an herb that readily grows wild,  but I have yet to see it in my  neighborhood.  There is no substitute for its flavor.

Even though there are only a few ingredients,  the method of cooking brings out a very rich and hearty flavor.  This is a warm and satisfying soup.

If you prefer to spice it up differently,  you can use comino,  chile powder, jalapeno pepper or other types of dried chile.  Those 2 peppers I included gave it a good amount of heat.

Be sure to use a nice well balanced vegetable stock.  Sometimes I will add a vegetable bouillon cube or two if necessary.

A nice thing about this sopa is that it is well suited for individual interpretations, depending on what you have on hand.

I think I’ll be joining the nice folks at the Fiesta Friday hosted by  Angie (aka The Novice Gardener), who is really not a novice at gardening or cooking.

 

 

 

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46 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2014 9:55 pm

    Your soup looks delicious! I love your idea of roasting the vegetables first. I’ll have to try that with my mom’s recipe.

    • May 21, 2014 10:02 pm

      But I’ll have to try making your soup first!

      • May 21, 2014 10:21 pm

        Thanks! It had been a long time since I had fideo. It reminded me of childhood. I think I’ll ask my mom about it next time I visit her. Maybe she’ll get the hint and make some!

  2. May 21, 2014 11:28 pm

    I am so happy to see this recipe. Kind of noodle soup with loads of flavors. The charring and roasting sounds exotic. Thanks for the mention :). I appreciate it. I have to try this method of using the vermicelli and roasted veges together.

    • May 22, 2014 12:25 am

      Yes, this one takes more time than our family’s “dry” version which I hope sooner or later to post. I am so curious about yours and want to try it. I like using turmeric when I can. I’m sure I’ve seen the other ingredients in an international supermarket. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. May 22, 2014 7:01 pm

    Yum, that looks sooooo delish!

  4. May 22, 2014 11:46 pm

    Comfort in a bowl! There’s this other Mexican vermicelli that I had once. Drier, with chorizo in it. So simple, so good. Now I want fideo! 🙂

  5. May 23, 2014 2:04 am

    Thanks for brining this to the fiesta! The flavor combination sounds delicious and rich. and, I love how you explained the ingredients. I have never heard of epazote before, but I certainly want to try it in a recipe soon. 🙂

    • May 23, 2014 1:10 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my soup! It really does come out very flavorful. I don’t know how popular or known epazote is, so I wrote a little about it. I hope you can find it. A little goes a long way.

  6. May 23, 2014 3:07 am

    A comfort food, indeed! This soup really brings all the delicious flavors you could ask for! And let me make a special mention to that mouth-watering roasted veggies! Oh yum! Thank you for bringing this to FF, Gerard! 🙂

    By the way, Angie told me that you are so good in dealing with breads. Would you mind looking at my entry? I could use a lot of help right now. 😀

    Thank you, Gerard. Enjoy FF! 🙂

    • May 23, 2014 2:08 pm

      Hi Juhls, thank you very much for the nice comments! I wish you could try it. It comes out full-flavored. As far as bread making, I’ve encountered problems all along the way and I have tried to fix them as best as I can figure. There is always something new to learn. Maybe my suggestions can be helpful to you. It’s hard sometimes to explain bread baking in words. Maybe I should contact you through e-mail?

  7. May 23, 2014 2:06 pm

    Hello Gerard – so nice to ‘meet’ you here at Angie’s Fiesta Friday! I love all the flavours in your soup – it is indeed comfort in a bowl. I had heard of epazote but didn’t really know much about it so I looked it up and can see that there is much debate on what it tastes like and what can be subbed for it! I will look out for it though (maybe Wholefoods?) as there isn’t much chance of it growing wild here in London!! I look forward to going through some of your posts after my co-hosting duties are over!! Enjoy FF17!

    • May 23, 2014 3:58 pm

      Hi Selma, nice to meet you. Yes it might be hard to find in London! Also, it doesn’t seem to hold up as well as other herbs in the refrigerator. I can’t compare it to other flavors I am familiar with. I’ll be visiting your blog soon. Thank you for co-hosting this week!

  8. May 23, 2014 2:10 pm

    Warm, tasty and delicious!

  9. May 23, 2014 2:58 pm

    really this looks soooo good thank you x

  10. May 23, 2014 4:50 pm

    Hi Gerard, I am curious about epazote. Some of the Mexican chefs that I watch on PBS have mentioned it in various dishes. What does it taste like? I think I remembered seeing it mentioned in a spice packet that I bought once for a particular dish I was making. There were several packets in the box. I used one packet for my dish but then I read the ingredients and it contained MSG so I threw the other packets away. (I avoid MSG, corn syrup, and trans fats.) This product was the closest I could find to the ingredient I was looking for at the time and I don’t remember what that was; it could have been epazote! Anyway, what does it taste like?

    • May 23, 2014 8:30 pm

      Hi Marcella, I really can’t compare it with any other herb or flavor. It is strong and very distinctive, its pungency setting it apart from other herbs. I don’t even want to try describing it because it’ll just put the wrong idea in your imagination. I enjoy using it when I can get it. It’s flavor goes well with some dishes although some people may have to develop a taste for it. Our local international supermarket has had a steady supply lately. I’ve seen it in dry form, but I can’t imagine it’s the same as fresh. Maybe you can find it in either form.

  11. May 23, 2014 7:38 pm

    I love soups and with the kind of ‘heat’ you have in this would even satisfy my hot addicted hubby. Yummmmmy. Happy Fiesta Friday!

    • May 23, 2014 8:34 pm

      Hi, you notice I only use 1/2 of the chipotle pepper. I made a batch with a whole one and found myself sweating. I’m not always in the mood for that kind of heat! Thank you for stopping by, Happy Fiesta Friday!

  12. May 24, 2014 1:08 am

    Looks delicious and I can’t wait to see the sopa seca!

    • May 24, 2014 1:13 am

      Thank you for the nice words and thanks for stopping by!

      • May 24, 2014 1:20 am

        Oh yes, I remember I saw your recipe for the mesquite flour bread a while back . . . wow!

    • May 24, 2014 1:29 am

      I can never get enough practice with sourdoughs!

      • May 24, 2014 1:43 am

        Amen! I just threw a starter away this morning. I have a very operatic relationship with sourdough starter and therefore sourdough breads. I think it’s best if I just buy them for a while if you know what I mean! Too much mess & cursing.

    • May 24, 2014 2:05 am

      Yes, it can be very frustrating, spending the time and effort, all the while worrying if the bread is going to come out like you hope. The big dramatic climax is when it’s in oven, and you’re seeing how it’s baking. It’s almost too much to handle!

  13. May 26, 2014 5:55 am

    A very heart warming soup 🙂

  14. May 26, 2014 5:05 pm

    Great looking soup Gerard! Welcome to FF 🙂

    • May 26, 2014 6:59 pm

      Hi Naina, Thank you, and thanks for the welcome to F.F. Lots of great food to whet an appetite here including yours!

  15. May 27, 2014 2:30 am

    Soups are my absolute favorite food and this one looks simply delicious with the different spices and flavors that you have used.

  16. June 23, 2014 10:45 pm

    Your roasted veggies look fabulous!

    • June 24, 2014 10:16 am

      I try roasting whenever possible. It’s amazing what you can make with just a few ingredients.
      Thank you Patty!

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  1. Fiesta Friday #17 | The Novice Gardener

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