This is a standard whatever-you-have-in-the-fridge-and-pantry soup recipe. While my truly delightful apartment in Mérida, Mexico had only the standard 2 cooker stove, it did have a nice big soup pot. So I decided to use up my lentils.
As sopa de lima is a Yucatan classic and sopa de fideo uses the unique little Mexican noodles (spaghetti with a haircut), I decided to pay channel their energy with this recipe.
- Chicken legs — 3, drumsticks and thighs, bone-in
- 1 Knorr Caldo de Pollo Reducido en Sodio³
- Lentils — 100 g — rinsed and sorted for stones⁴
- Carrot — 2 — 1 whole, 1 finely chopped
- Onion — 1 1/2 — 1 chopped; 1/2 whole for stock
- Garlic cloves — 2 chopped, 1 whole
- Roma tomato — roughly chopped
- Fideo⁵ — 100 g
- Oregano — half teaspoon
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Place chicken pieces, the half-onion, the whole carrot, and the Knorr cube into a pot, cover with water (about 2 L) and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and cook at a healthy simmer for 25 minutes.
- While chicken is poaching/simmering, make the sofrito. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add diced onions. Saute for 5–10 minutes. Keep them moving. You're not looking for colour but translucent onion pieces.
- Once onions are good, add the garlic and carrots. Fry for a minute.
- Add tomatoes to frying pan and continue fying for another couple of minutes. Once all is looking as one, turn off the heat.
- After your 25 minutes of simmering, remove the chicken from the pot to a plate or bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
- Remove onion, garlic and carrot from broth.⁶
- Add rinsed lentils and oregano to the stock and bring to a boil.
- Let lentils boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat to pleasant simmer and let cook for 25 minutes.
- While lentils simmer, shred the chicken with two forks.
- After 25 minutes, add fideo and the sofrito and give the pot a stir.
- Continue cooking for at least another 10 minutes. You want the noodles to be soft.
- Add the shredded chicken to the pot. Stir.
- Check for seasoning then enjoy.
- This is a terrible picture. Yes, the staging could be better but the real problem is that my kitchen had very, very harsh fluorescent lighting. Add to this my unwillingness to spend more than 10 minutes tinkering with colour correction and you've got a lousy photo. Good soup though.
- It should be obvious that the amounts listed are arbitrary. Well, not technically arbitrary but what I had on hand. I had bought a 200g bag of fideo and had half left. I had a 200 g Or not. They're what I had. I started with the chicken and worked backwards. Amounts in This really is up to your preference.
- That's Low Sodium Knorr chicken Cube. Fancy folk can use real chicken stock but you'll be missing the MSG.
- Maybe I've been lucky in this aspect of life but I've never found a stone in my lentils or beans. I've added this in because all recipes demand this of you and I would be remiss not to nag as well.
- Fideo is the Spanish word for noodle, but what we're talking about here are the Mexican noodle variety. They're like short spaghetti shards and slightly orange in colour. If you can't find these use a fine spaghetti (spaghettini) but not angel hair as it's too fine.
- If you have a fine mesh strainer, now's the time to use it. Put the simmered carrot, garlic and onion into the strainer, place the strainer back over the stock, and press down on the vegetables with the back of your spoon. You're looking to extract the tasty goodness from those veggies. Don't overdo the pushing and don't use a coarse strainer or you'll have baby food in your stock.