Sopa de Res con Fideos (Puerto Rican Beef Noodle Soup)
- 1 pound beef shank
- 1 pound beef cubes
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 green bell pepper cut in half and seeded
- 1 small onion cut in half and peeled
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 ripe hass avocado cut in half and seeded
- 2 medium-sized carrots diced
- 1 medium-sized yautia diced (this is also known as malanga or taro), OPTIONAL
- 2 small potatoes diced
- 2 tablespoon tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 ounces fideos or fine egg noodles
- salt and pepper to taste
Whenever I feel blah, this soup from mi Isla, Puerto Rico, is where I turn to for comfort. It's my recipe for soul-warming Puerto Rican Beef Noodle Soup (or as we call it, sopa de res con fideos).
This soup normally takes more than two hours to get the stock nice and rich with the broth from the bones. That said, this is not the “full” version of the way the soup is actually made; this is the “condensed” version. Still, it's a recipe that uses many ingredients that are typical to Puerto Rico. One of these is recao, 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 and chili peppers (aji dulce). It's all blended together and it becomes this purely beautiful-smelling concoction that screams “Puerto Rico.”
Adding the recao is totally optional. You don’t have to use it, or you can purchase the Goya version sold in the freezer section of your supermarket. I have partially taken care of it for you as I'm having you make a mini version of it by adding the green pepper, onion and garlic. The only thing that’s missing is the cilantro, culantro and aji dulce, which you can add if you wish for a complete recao serving for one. You add this to the soup when you put it in with the meat and stock.
Trust me when I tell you that you must try this beef noodle soup, but don’t wait until you’re sick or cold. It's is good on its own as a complete meal! Just add white rice, avocado, and/or fried plantains (what we call tostones or patacones).