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This is a south-of-the-border version of chicken noodle soup. It's originally from the food section of the February 18, 2009 Houston Chronicle and comes from the cookbook "Zarela's Veracruz" by Zarela Martinez with Anne Mendelson. Fideo noodles are nested thin noodles and can be found in the Mexican or ethnic section of most grocery stores.
- 1 chicken, cut into quarters (3 1/2 to 4 lb. chicken)
- 2 small white onions (1 unpeeled, divided uses)
- 6 garlic cloves (2 unpeeled,divided uses)
- 1 1⁄2-2 teaspoons salt
- 10 black peppercorns
- 15 mint sprigs
- 7 -8 cups water
- 3 ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 (10 ounce) packagefideo noodles (or about 8 oz. vermicelli)
- fresh ground pepper, to taste (optional)
- sliced fresh jalapeno pepper, for garnish
- Place chicken in stockpot or Dutch oven with unpeeled onion, the 2 unpeeled garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon salt,peppercorns and 3 sprigs mint.
- Add enough water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil over high heat.
- At once, reduce heat to maintain low rolling boil; skim off any froth that rises to top.
- Cook, partly covered, until chicken is tender, 20-25 minutes; remove pot from heat and let chicken cool in stock.
- Lift out chicken pieces. Discard skin, remove meat from bones and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Strain stock into a bowl, discarding solids. Rinse out and dry pot.
- Place chiles in small bowl and cover with 2 cups of the hot stock. Let sit for 20 minutes; transfer chiles and soaking liquid to blender and puree with remaining peeled and coarsely chopped onion and 4 peeled and quartered garlic cloves.
- Add oil to clean stockpot and heat over medium-high heat until rippling.
- Add the nests of fideos and brown lightly on both sides. If using vermicelli, stir-fry until lightly browned.
- Lift out with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Pour out all but a thin film of oil from pot.
- Add pureed chile mixture, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add chicken, fried noodles and remaining stock. Bring to a boil and taste for salt, adding a little if it seems flat.
- Cook over low heat until noodles are al dente, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop remaining mint. Add most of the mint to the soup; serve immediately with a sprinkling of the remaining mint, a few grinds of black pepper if desired and several jalapeno slices.