Sopa Seca de Fideo

(From 2010 Around the World in 80 Miles)

Mexican Sopa Seca is a wonderful, home-style dish, yet most Americans have probably never heard of it. It’s likely not on your local Mexican restaurant’s menu, but it is a popular first course or side dish in Mexican homes. One taste might just have you putting it in your own pasta dish rotation. As always, you can substitute your own favorite vegetables or go vegetarian by swapping vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Also, you choose how much heat to give this dish by using more or less peppers. This dish is fast and delicious and cooks in one big pan on the stove while you’re enjoying a first course salad and a glass of Glorie wine!

16 oz. vermicelli, broken into short pieces
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno peppers;
OR 1 – 4 oz.can diced green chiles
2 – 10 oz. cans Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1-1/2 teaspoons South American oregano
1-1/2 cups frozen peas
3 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and chilies; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft. Add vermicelli and slowly stir, turning over to coat. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until vermicelli is “lightly toasted” or light brown in color. Stir in tomatoes, peppers, oregano, peas, and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until liquid is absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.