I started this new year sicker than a dog (don’t know what that means or where that phrase came from – my little dog, Max the Maltese, started this new year great!), anyway, yup that’s how it started, sneezing incessantly, ears stuffed, nose stuffed, headache, yeah you get the picture. What to do with this? I so wanted to get this blog thing going, but I REALLY was not in the mood, much less cook up a dinner and post it. Plus, of all things…I had to WORK! I mean really work, like work from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. EVERY DAY! Let me explain, I work PART-TIME outside of my house; part-time works for me but for the past two weeks, I’ve been working full-time because we’re missing the other half assistant from my position (we job share), so while my other half is visiting her son and daughter in Georgia, I’m working basically full-time leaving me with absolutely no time for anything let alone managing a blog. Okay, I’m rambling, sorry.
So after work I decided, in my “unreasonable” way, that I needed some home cooked comfort food from mi Isla, Puerto Rico. I needed something that used to make me feel instantly better when my grandmother or mother made it. Got it – Puerto Rican Beef Noodle Soup (or as we call it, “sopa de caldo de res con fideos”).
While that sounded GREAT, what didn’t sound so great was that it normally takes about a good two hours (plus) to get this soup stock nice and rich with the broth that the bones will bring out in this soup. Kind of unreasonable being that I was going to be starting this cooking project close to 6:00 p.m. Nevertheless, since I had the ingredients on hand I lived up to my blog’s name and started this kitchen shenanigan, and about one and a half hours later I had the most delicious comfort food ever!
This is not the “full” version of the way this soup is actually made, but given the time, or lack of, I had to settle for the “condensed” version.
For those who are not familiar with Puerto Rican ingredients such as recao – recao is a seasoning base that we use as a flavoring to give our dishes a distinctive taste (and before anybody kills me, some Dominicans use it as well). We add it to just about everything we make, beans, soup, yellow rice, etc., it’s made from cilantro, culantro (coriander leaves,) green peppers, onions, garlic, sweet chili peppers (aji dulce) this is all blended together and it becomes this purely beautiful-smelling concoction that will scream “Puerto Rico”. Okay, maybe it won’t scream for you, but it does for me. In any event adding this can be totally optional – you don’t have to put these in, however, I have partially taken care of the recao part for you as I am having you make a mini version of this by adding the green pepper, onion and garlic (the only thing else that’s missing is the cilantro and culantro and aji dulce which you can add if you wish then you will have made a complete recao serving for one use) to the soup when you put it in with the meat and stock.
I am now officially OVER this bug that overcame me for no reason at all and I am now dedicating this soup to all my friends up North that are freezing with the cold spell they are going through.
Trust me when I tell you, you must try this soup but don’t wait until you’re sick, or cold – this soup is good on its’ own as a complete meal, just add white rice, avocado, and/or fried plantains (or what we call, tostones or patacones).
PUERTO RICAN HEARTY BEEF NOODLE SOUP (Sopa de Caldo de Res con fideos)
Makes 12 servings
- 1-1lb. package of beef shank
- 1-1lb. package of beef cubes
- 4 cups of beef stock
- 2 cups of water
- 1 green bell pepper cut in half, seeded
- 1 small onion, peeled, cut in half
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 celery stalk, cut in half
- 2 medium-sized carrots, diced
- 1 medium-sized yautia, diced (also known as tanier or taro) OPTIONAL
- 2 small-sized potatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp. of tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 8-ounces of fideos (or fine egg noodles)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Season your meat, both beef shank and beef cubes. I use my adobo seasoning mix which I make homemade, you may use your own seasoning just make sure that you remember this will be covered with beef stock plus water so you will have to season it well so the salt doesn’t wash away.
- In a large kettle or dutch oven, pour your broth and water in with the seasoned meat, then add bell pepper, onion, garlic cloves and celery, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on moderate to low heat for about an hour.
- Take out vegetables and put into your blender and blend (use caution and place a damp towel over the opening so as not to have a catastrophe) until this turns into a puree (excluding the celery, you’ve just made a partial version of recao!) BE PROUD, BE VERY PROUD!
- With a sieve pour this puree back into the soup you just want to extract the liquid, not the solids.
- Now add in your carrots, yautia and potatoes. Gradually bring to a boil. Taste to make sure that it is salted the way you want and pepper to taste. Add oregano, bay leaf and tomato sauce.
- Stir to mix in added ingredients. Cook over moderate high heat, stirring occasionally, uncovered for about ½ hour more or until potatoes, carrots and yautia are tender, then add fideos and cook until fideos are done.