Sopa de Fideo Seco con Frijol Negro

With two major food magazines, Gourmet and Saveur both featuring pasta on their April, 2008 covers with major stories, it only seemed appropriate that I include a new pasta dish that we had on a recent trip to Guanajuato, served in the home of LuzMa Cardines Ramirez.

In Mexico, this dish would be considered a “dry” soup. After a very formal meal, it would be proper to serve first a “wet” soup to be followed by the dry one, much as pasta is served before a main course in Italy. These days it is usually one or the other, and rice is the most common, but pasta and crêpes are other traditional favorites.

Note by Marilyn: I put in chopped chile chipotle en adobe to the dish when I added the beans which gave it an extra flavor boost. Another option would be to serve it on the side and add it to taste.

Serves 4

Fideos

  • 4 tablespoons corn or safflower oil, divided in half
  • 1 package of fideos(200 grams) or coils of thin vermicelli, broken into 3 parts, about 4 inches in length (make certain that they do not contain eggs)
  • ¼ medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped or 2 cups canned tomato pieces with puree
  • 2 cups of chicken broth

Garnish

  • ½ cup Mexican cremaor sour cream thinned with a little milk
  • 1/3 cup queso panelaor Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup chicharron, chopped or crumbled

Beans

  • 2 cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can black beans

If using dried beans, put 2 cups of black beans in a pot and let soak overnight. (Note: I would never soak my beans overnight. I find no reason to do it. Marilyn) Replace the water and add enough water to cover at least 1 ½ inches above the beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, 2-4 hours, depending on the age of the beans, stirring occasionally and adding more water to keep it at the same level. Add about 1 teaspoon sea salt when the beans are tender. Remove from heat, add 2 epazote leaves or flat-leaf parsley, and reserve until needed.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat in a medium-size casserole dish, preferably an earthenware cazuela. Add the fideos and fry, stirring constantly, until dark golden, about 3 minutes. Scoop the fideos out and set aside in a medium-size sauce pan. Add the additional 2 tablespoons of oil and reheat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside until cooled. Pour the garlic, onion and tomato mixture into a blender jar, adding ½ cup chicken broth, and blend until smooth.

Add the blended sauce to the sauce pan with the fideos and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat (the pasta should be fairly soft). Add the beans with broth and simmer until a little of the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the fideos to a serving dish or back into the cazuela and top with the cream, shredded cheese and the chopped chicharron.

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