Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sopa de Pollo con Fideos

Following the success of Cajun Cubanos and Robin's awesome Cuban cookbook Christmas present, I decided that my New Year's cooking resolution was to get more in touch with my Cuban half. After many mornings of strong Cuban coffee and an initial attempt at the Cuban staple black beans that was somewhat underwhelming (and will become a post after some further attempts and tweaking), I realized I was going to have to connect the two halves of my heritage and Cajunify my Cuban cuisine for the best of all worlds.

With a freeze approaching and a night-shift Robin in need of a food-laden care package, I decided to go with the Hispanic version of chicken noodle soup known as sopa de pollo con fideos spiced up with some New Orleans andouille sausage along with some fresh rolls and cookies (more on that to come later) to keep us warm and too full to care about the weather.

Sopa de Pollo con Fideos
Adapted from The Cuban Table by A. Pelaez and E. Silverman
Servings: 6-8
Time: 60 minutes

What are so many veggies doing in my cooking?
4 cups shredded chicken (about 2-3 lbs)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" rounds
1/2 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 yellow onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
5-6 cups chicken stock
1 bay leag
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Red chili flakes to taste
1/2 tsp saffron threads
Sriracha to taste
10 oz fideo noodles (thin spaghetti)
Lime juice

Perfectly shredded chicken. Thanks, pressure cooker!
  1. Make your shredded chicken. I lazily made mine by adding 2.5 lbs chicken breasts, 4 cups water, 3 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped bell pepper, 1/2 onion, and sriracha to a pressure cooker and cooking under high pressure for 20 minutes. This also doubled as most of my stock, and it was delicious. Set aside.
  2. Heat your oil over medium in a 6 quart pot. Sauté the carrots, potatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic and sausage together until the sausage is cooked through and the veggies are tender (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add in the chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, pepper, red chili flakes, saffron, and sriracha. Bring to a fast simmer and let cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add your noodles and let simmer until the noodles are tender (~ 10 minutes).
  5. At long last, add the shredded chicken and cook until warmed through (5-10 minutes). Adjust the seasoning, and serve with a dash of lime juice.
So much going on and all of it delightful
This soup was exactly what I needed to hibernate during the freeze (It's amazing how spoiled I have already become to avoiding cold weather after just a month away from near constant travel to upstate New York.). Starting with the pressure cooker shredded chicken that was already a delicious soup on its own, I knew this was going to hit the spot. The andouille sausage I added gave it the perfect hint of gumbo, while each bite was overflowing with all the noodles, veggies, and chicken your heart could desire. In fact the ratio of broth to ingredients was heavily on the ingredient side, which was exactly what I was looking for. My original introduction to chicken fideo soup was at the Loredo Taqueria in Houston, oddly enough in taco form because of Texas law, and this brought back all those wonderful memories. Combined with the dense, buttery goodness of pan de media noche, and my greatest baking risk ever, the sriracha cookie (stay tuned), I had everything necessary for several days of a Netflix aided stupor while avoiding the barren wasteland of the outside world.

Buttery, eggy Cuban rolls perfect for dipping or just devouring on their own
The original inspiration for making this soup, the chicken fideo taco, transported me back to Texas during the lone day of harsh winter.

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