The World’s Best Sopa de Fideo {Mexican Noodle Soup} 

This soup will bring you more joy than Marie Kondo’s closet cleaning method. Maybe I’m sentimental because it’s my grandmother’s recipe, but wait until you taste it and you’ll feel it too. It would make abue Elvira proud to learn that I’ve received many compliments on this soup by people who’ve tried her recipe all over the world. But first, a little background on this authentic Mexican recipe.

La Reina del Fideo

My paternal grandmother, abuelita Elvira, was the fideo soup queen! Not only did she master this soup, she also taught me the secrets to conquering this recipe. When I was a kid, I would beg her to make it for me. My brother and sister also loved it so much that we could expect a fresh batch every time we visited her and abuelito Pépe. So, of course, I made a point to learn how to properly make it for myself. I consider it one of my favorite comfort meals, not only because of taste but because it reminds me of the love and dedication abuelita Elvira had for us.

 

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1970’s – Sitting front and center: abuelita Elvira with abuelito Pépe, my dad, and uncles behind her. 

 


 

Allow me to tell you why you absolutely must try this soup. It’s not only a staple on Mexican dinner tables, it’s delicious and easy to make. In Mexico we call fideo the very thin pasta that resembles Angel Hair; only it’s not long but cut in smaller pieces. Don’t let the cook time fool you, this recipe is simple, but like many family recipes, it has its secrets! A crucial step is frying the fideo noodles. In the U.S. we normally make noodle soups by cooking the noodles in the broth. With Fideo Soup, you have to fry the noodles before adding the broth. It probably sounds a little weird to some of you, but I promise you it’s totally worth it! The other secret is in the final few steps, you’ll see when you get there! Follow these steps carefully and the result will be a light soup in consistency but rich in flavor. You can also add shredded chicken for an alternative to the traditional American chicken noodle soup.

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Fideo noodles. I use angel hair pasta cut into 1-2 inch pieces.

 

In my slightly “spiced” up version of her recipe, I added Chipotle peppers, which are smoked jalapeños and I normally buy the canned Goya or La Costeña brands. The chipotles enhance the original flavor with a tiny kick, which makes the soup perfect for one of these weird weather April days! Although abuelita Elvira passed away a few years ago, her memory lives on with every sip of this delectable Fideo soup. I still remember her standing next to me firmly saying “keep stirring! keep stirring!”, she didn’t want me to burn the noodles. If you brown the noodles too long, don’t get discouraged, it happens. I look at it as a right of passage.

¡Buen provecho!

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♥ INGREDIENTS ♥

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb. roma tomatoes, sliced

2 de-stemmed chipotle peppers (I used canned, start with one if you prefer less heat.)

1 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup water (for sauce)

6 oz angel hair pasta cut into 1 – 2 inch pieces (Always weigh your dry ingredients for accuracy.)

3 Tbsp oil, separated (I used olive oil)

3 Cups chicken broth, you’ll add separately.

3 Cups water, you’ll add separately.

Fresh parsley or cilantro leaves for garnish

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Stick with fresh tomatoes whenever possible. But you can substitute with 16oz of plain canned tomato sauce for this recipe, if you need to.

♥ INSTRUCTIONS ♥

1. SAUTEE the onions and garlic in a skillet with 1 TBSP of oil for about 2 – 3 minutes.

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2. ADD the tomatoes and chipotle peppers and cook for another 3 minutes until they soften a little.

3. PLACE the cooked vegetables and peppers in a blender with 1/2 cup of water and 1 tsp. salt. BLEND on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

4. POUR the tomato mixture into a 2 quart pot over low heat, just enough to warm it up and keep hot for a few minutes while you brown the noodles.

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BROWNING THE NOODLES

5. ADD 2 TBSP of oil to a skillet over medium to low heat. ADD the noodles to the pot and fry until they turn light brown. This will take about 5 minutes depending on your stove.

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5. (Continued) The trick here is to keep stirring the noodles so they brown evenly.

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Abuelita Elvira taught me a few tricks on how to brown the fideo noodles evenly. Lesson # 1 is NEVER walk away from the stove. Lesson # 2 is keep your eyes on the noodles, and don’t stop stirring.

6. TRANSFER the browned noodles to the pot with the simmering tomato mixture. Turn the heat up to medium.

7. ADD two cups of the chicken broth and stir well. Let the soup boil on medium heat for about 5 minutes then turn the heat down just a bit so it simmers. COVER the pot.

8. SET a timer for 60 minutes. Or you can set it in increments of 15 minutes, which you will need so you can complete the last few steps.

Abuelita Elvira said, “These final steps will determine the fate of your soup” – as she stood next to me making sure I got them right!

9.  AT 15 MINUTES IN – ADD 2 cups of water, stir well and cover the pot back up so the soup continues simmering

10. AT 30 MINUTES IN – ADD the remaining cup of chicken broth, stir well and cover the pot back up so the soup continues simmering.

11. AT 50 MINUTES IN – ADD one more cup of water, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes. You can also add some of that leftover roasted shredded chicken at this step, it will warm up with the soup in the next 10 minutes! Taste the soup and ADD more salt if needed.

12. SERVE hot and garnish with a few leaves of cilantro if desired. Nice job for pulling this soup off, you’re already a rock star in the kitchen!

{FIDEO SOUP 101} The reason why we want to add the liquids in intervals is so the noodles can cook as they absorb the flavors. If you add all the water and broth at once the noodles might take longer to cook and you’ll miss out on flavor. If you don’t add the right amount of water and broth, you will have fideo paste the next day for leftovers. The soup will harden like jello, while that doesn’t mean it’s ruined, you will have to add water as you re-heat and you’ll forfeit flavor.

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