Sopa de Fideo

May 23, 2019 – I took a break this week from the fictional world of Trent Marshall and Darcey Anderson to spend a little time in the real world. While I was here I discovered a new soup that will hereinafter be a permanent part of my culinary repertoire.

Fideo translates literally from Spanish as “noodle.” It’s similar to vermicelli or thin spaghetti. While fideo can sometimes be found in stores offering ingredients for Mexican dishes, either of the better known pastas is an acceptable substitute.

Sopa de fideo appears in Mexican and TexMex cuisine. It also is served in certain provinces of the Philippines. The Filipino connection lends credence to the theory that the dish originated in Spain. It first showed up in the Philippines in the 17th century when the more than 7,600 islands making up the archipelagic nation was a Spanish colony. It might be one of the earliest examples of fusion in the kitchen.

All of the recipes I looked at included the pasta, broken into small pieces, and browned slightly in olive oil. They all included tomatoes. Meat was not included in most of them. Neither were most of them heavily spiced.

Sopa de Fideo

Well, I’m a carnivore. I wanted meat. I included some chorizo. And I like heat in my food. So to “hot it up a little bit,” as my dad would say, I added some crushed red pepper.

The result was terrific! Absolutely terrific!

Here, then, is my take on sopa de fideo.

Sopa de Fideo

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound fideo, vermicelli, or thin spaghetti, broken into small pieces

1 pound chorizo

2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cups chicken stock, or more as needed

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper

salt to taste

In a stock pot or large, heavy sauce pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the fideo in the hot oil. Watch it carefully. When it begins to take on a little color, add the chorizo.

When the chorizo begins to brown a bit, add all the other ingredients.

Let the soup simmer for about twenty minutes. Add more chicken stock if needed.

Bon temps!

Pork Tenderloin with a Spicy Sauce

April 26, 2019 – I love pork. The tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts. What am I saying? I can’t think of anything pork that I don’t love! Well, trotters don’t really do much for me, but other than that I love pork.

I also enjoy experimenting with sauces. I like to include ingredients that would be unexpected. That would not ordinarily be thought of in the company of the other ingredients. And I like my sauces on the spicy side. Way over on the spicy side. This one will be as spicy as you want to make it.

I had a pork tenderloin. It was .93 pound. The cooking time in my recipe is based on a tenderloin of that size. You can adjust the time accordingly to match the weight of the tenderloin you are preparing.

First, a marinade. I decided to marinate my pork in the refrigerator over night.

The sauce I made was uncooked. It took no more than ten minutes or so to put it together. I also made it the day before. When it came time to prepare the meal, there was very little work to do.

Be careful to avoid overcooking pork. While it’s delicious when properly cooked, it can become dry and tasteless if it’s overdone.

And yes, I know it’s not a good picture. I’m using it anyway because it is such a great dish.

Pork Tenderloin with Sauce

1 pork tenderloin

Marinade: 2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Marinate the tenderloin for several hours.

Sauce: 1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 1/4 teaspoon horseradish (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons sour cream

To cook the tenderloin: 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450.

Add a small amount of olive oil to a heavy skillet. You want a tablespoon or so. No more. Just enough to keep the tenderloin from sticking. Brown the pork over medium heat for about four minutes. Turn it over and brown the other side for about three minutes.

Place the tenderloin in an open, oven proof dish and roast for about fourteen minutes. Let it rest for five to ten minutes after removing it from the oven. Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook from its own internal heat for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven.

Slice the tenderloin thinly on the diagonal. Drizzle some of the sauce over the meat before serving.

Bon temps!

Roasted Onions

February 22, 2019 – This one is so simple I’m almost embarrassed to write it up. Almost.

I planned on roasting a chicken and was thinking of an accompaniment that wouldn’t require too much effort. Somewhere I read about roasting whole onions in their skin. Sounded like it was worth a try.

I chose fairly large, red onions. Using a fork, I poked holes around each onion so it wouldn’t explode.

I put the onions around the chicken and slid bird and vegetables together into a pre-heated 425 oven. For the size of the chicken, one hour at that temperature was perfect.

When the onions are done, cut them in half. Add a little butter with salt and pepper to taste. I also added a little file’ just because. It added a subtle, exotic flavor. That’s completely optional unless, of course, you’re from Louisiana and believe that file’ can go with anything.

Roasted onions accompanying a roast chicken.

So here’s the recipe, if it can really be called a recipe.

Roasted Onions

1 large onion per person, unpeeled

2 tablespoons butter per onion

salt & pepper to taste

File’ (optional)

Using a fork, poke holes all around the onions so they don’t explode.

Place them around the chicken or whatever meat you’re preparing. Let them roast alongside the meat.

When done, slice the onions in half. Let a tablespoon of butter melt on each half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

A dusting of file’ is optional.

Bon temps!

Beer Cheese Chicken Soup with Crusty Rosemary Bread

March 30, 2014 – It was raining and cold.  Not the Arctic kind of cold that makes you rummage through the closet for gloves and scarves and stocking caps.  It was that wet, bone-chilling cold that comes with a hard winter rain.

Even though it was officially spring it was still a winter kind of rain.   March got itself a little confused this year.  In like a lamb and out like a lion.

Not that I’m complaining.  I like rainy days.  A roaring fire in the fireplace.  A good book or an old movie.  Maybe a nap with a concerto of falling raindrops lulling you to sleep.  And a steaming bowl of soup with crusty bread for dipping.

On this rainy day I made a Beer Cheese Chicken Soup.  All the better with crusty rosemary bread.

I prefer chicken thighs almost exclusively.  They’re moist and flavorful.  So unlike the ubiquitous boneless, skinless breasts.  This recipe does work best if the chicken is boneless and skinless.  Even so I still like thighs.  The chicken should be cut into bite sized pieces for cooking.  I sautéed the small pieces in a little olive oil until they were beginning to brown.

I also added some broccoli for color and crunch.  I would suggest using raw flowerets,  sautéing them in olive oil as well.  Take care not to overcook them.  Done properly the broccoli will add a bit of crunch and color to the bowl.

Light the fire in the fireplace, find a good movie and enjoy!

Beer Cheese Chicken Soup

1/2 medium onion, chopped                                 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup butter                                                       2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup flour                                                         1 cup cooked but still crunchy broccoli

Salt & pepper to taste                                          1 pound chicken, cooked & diced

2 cups milk                                                           1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked

                                                                              1 12 oz bottle of beer

Saute the onion in butter until it is softened.  Add the flour and cook for two or three minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the milk and chicken broth, continuing to stir until it begins to thicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the beer, stirring well.

Add the cheese and continue stirring until it is melted.

Add the chicken and broccoli.  Stir to mix well.

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Crusty Rosemary Bread

1 crusty baguette

Softened butter

Fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cut the bread into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Lightly butter each slice and sprinkle each with the chopped rosemary.

Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven.  Bake for about ten minutes, watching them closely, until they’re brown and crispy.


Bon temps!