As is my usual plan, when I’m uninspired and looking for something to make, I turn to a) the internet and b) a random cuisine from around the world. Is it because I’m American and have always eaten “American” food, that I think it’s the least interesting cuisine out there? Or is it because legitimate “American” food doesn’t really exist – just a combination of bits and pieces of all of our immigrant roots? I think it’s probably some combination of the two. Whichever reason, I was thinking Mexican for my dinner creation. And I wanted something a little different. I feel like in this country, we just assume that Mexicans live solely on tacos, burritos, and the occasional chimichanga. There’s so much more to Mexican cuisine than that (obviously), but I’m the first to admit I don’t know a whole lot about it.
Why did I call this post Sopa De Fideo (Almost)? Well, turns out the fideo connotates a specific type of noodle. Fideo looks like spaghetti noodles that have been broken into smaller pieces (and as such, most recipes you see for sopa de fideo tell you to purchase spaghetti and break it into smaller pieces.) Before I read more about it, I thought, “Hmmm… that orzo I have in the pantry would be a perfect substitute for broke spaghetti pieces…” Little did I know by substituting orzo, I essentially took away the namesake of the soup.
Historical, ethnic accuracy? FAIL
Delicious soup? WIN
Sopa De Fideo
(Adapted from Cooking the Globe blog)
- 2 + 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 14oz crushed tomatoes
- 3 + 1 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 16oz orzo
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Salt & pepper
- Optional garnishes: cilantro, avocado, cheese, crema
- In a large pot, warm 2 tsp of olive oil. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Top this with a few turns on fresh black pepper.
- Add the minced garlic, continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- Now, combine the garlic/onions, tomatoes, spices (cumin, cayenne, allspice), and 1 cup of stock in a blender or in a bowl with an immersion blender. Pulse until smooth.
- Add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil in the original pot. Once warm, pour in the orzo. Toss to coat with oil. Toast the pasta, stirring frequently, so it becomes golden, but does not burn. Give this ~5 minutes.
- Now return the blended mixture and the remaining cups of stock to the pot. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and then lower heat. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. The pasta will plump up and the soup thicken a bit.
- At the end, stir in the lime juice.
- Taste and adjust salt & pepper as you like.
- Serve with one or several of the the garnishes!