Sopa Seca: Mexican Noodle Casserole

Total Time:
55 min
20 min
35 min

4 servings

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pan
  • 12 ounces fideos (bundled vermicelli)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexican chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 chipotles en adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade, or low-sodium canned
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded smoked turkey
  • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • Mexican crema, or sour cream thinned with a bit of milk, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush a 9-inch square baking dish with oil. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fideos and cook, turning them with tongs, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bundles and any broken pieces to a plate.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, coriander, oregano, chili powder, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Crush the tomatoes over the pot with your hand and add them to the pot along with their juices. Add the chipotles, increase the heat to high, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, the toasted fideos, salt, and pepper, to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, breaking up the fideos with a spoon, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the turkey.

Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, and cover loosely with foil. Bake until the cheese melts and the casserole is hot through and through, about 20 minutes. If desired, serve with some crema drizzled over the top.

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    Yum, Yum, Yum. It takes some practice to brown the fideos just right (do not go easy on the olive oil), but other than that, this is one of those dishes you can do "some of this, some of that". I've made it enough times that I just wing it. Do not, however, miss out on the freshly ground coriander, it makes it!
    I took this to a potluck and everyone raved about it. Yes it is spicy but if you have ever used chipotle peppers, you know that they are hot but you can control how much heat you give your dish. Smoky, hearty, cheesy and the smoked turkey is an exceelent meat for this dish. Of course chicken, or pork would work just as well. Anyway, great recipe!
    Made this dish for my monthly book club meeting and it was a big hit. Did not use the cheddar but used only authentic Mexican cheeses and chicken vs. turkey. Used petite crushed tomatoes to save some time. Paired this dish with the Mexican chocolate cookies and the Margarita ice cream. Will make again and again.
    This dish is relatively easy to make and will impress your guests (or your family). Wow. Intense flavor. I'm vegetarian so I substituted the turkey for Morning Star Farms "fake meat" and it was fabulous. Wonderful! The Fideos were a bit tricky to find in the supermarket; look in the ethnic isle near the Goya products and it will be there. I highly recommend this recipe.
    I loved the flavors of this dish! My family thought it was a little strange with the noodles so I made it again with rice and they loved it. Will definately make this again.
    I'm a college student and I made this for some of my roommates and friends... they all loved it and are asking for the recipe! I will be making this again soon.
    1. This was spicier than I expected, but in a good way. I made it exactly as the recipe stated.
    2. Next time I will make it without any meat. It was delicious with the smoked turkey, but would stand up very well without any meat at all.
    3. Easy to put together, and improved as the days rolled by.
    Try this recipe, it will knock your socks off! The spice is just right, even for the kids. I used rotisserie chicken, super easy preparation. I made it right before the kids' practices and set the oven at 200, when we got home an hour later and it was perfect. Makes well more than 4 servings, but no complaints here.
    My husband and I enjoy cooking and trying many different recipes, most frequently from the Food Network. I came across this one, and it sounded interesting. I couldn't find the bundled vermicelli, so I bought the Italian kind, broke it in half, and browned it. I followed the rest of the recipe exactly, with the exception of using chicken rather than turkey. (the rater who used a whole can of chipotle in adobo sauce did NOT. No wonder she needed milk after- the recipe calls for 2 chipotles, not the whole can!!) The spices, while cooking, smelled wonderful! My husband and I had a hearty second helping and agreed that this would be a great dish to prepare again when our children come to visit. They will love it.
    It would have been really good if it hadn't been so spicy. I will make this dish again, but way less spicy!

    We're Southern Californians and love spicy food! We eat hot stuff all the time. However, this recipe was much TOO spicy. I used a whole can of chipotles in adobo and all the chili powder it called for. In the future i will half both ingredients. That way it will be consumable by children. Anyone who wants it hotter can throw on some Tapatio!
    I just made this tonight. Frankly, I was a bit aprehensive about this recipe after reading some of the reviews that complained this was bland. I thought it turned out delicious! I did do a couple of things differently. I used regular turkey breast, chopped up, along with about 5 or 6 strips of ready-cooked bacon crumbled up with it. That added a nice smoky flavor. I used two chipotles, unrinsed, but also used about one and a half teaspoons of Ancho Chile Powder plus about 1/4 tsp of ground chipotle. (Penzeys Spices markets a fabulous assortment of ground chile). I also upped the Oregano and Coriander to about one and a half teaspoons each. I used a 15 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes, which made for a nice, thick sauce. The casserole came out of the oven at the perfect consistency. I didn't have any Crema, but topped my bowl with a dollop of sour cream. It was muy deliciosa! My teenagers loved it. When I can find something the whole family eats, it will definitely get made again. This one goes on the regular rotation. Plus, it's a snap to make after a busy day at work.
    Ive had a version of this growing up and I will let you in on a little secret..

    Mexicans use PORK FAT use a little bit of bacon drippings and the flavor will be out of this world.

    IF you want to make an original Sopa Seca de Fideos.... you'd have to change some things in this recipe.

    Sopa Seca de Fideos is authentic mexican comfort/home food, plain and simple yet incredibly delicious.

    First, you'd have to omit the olive oil and use normal, flavorless oil like corn or canola. Olive oil isn't widely used in Mexico. Only in some spanish influenced recipes like "Pescado a la Veracruzana" and some others.

    Now, coriander???? it's never (or, almost... never??) used in mexican food ... OMIT.

    Oregano and bay leaf.... yes, they're used in Mexican food, but not in this particular dish.... there's just no need... But if you want to throw a small bunch of fresh cilantro at the simmering stage, that would give the Fideos a definitely homey Mexican taste.

    Meat and chesse:
    Smoked turkey is almost unknown here in Mexico and turkey itself isn't widely used (though it should). Shredded chicken would be more authentic.
    Cheddar cheese?? No comments.... it's just UNKNOWN.
    In Mexico it'd be served with Cotija Cheese and avocado sliced or cubed on top. You can substitute it with Monterrey Jack or, if available, with Mexican Manchego or Chihuhua Cheeses, if you want to try the "casserole" thing (also un-mexican, LOL !).

    About the Crema, don't you ever skip it!

    You can now visualize your authentic mexican dish, yummy fideos secos simmered with chipotle and cilantro, served with some shredded chicken, cotija cheese, avocado and a nice dollop of "crema".

    Now, that's authentic mexican home food. Enjoy !





    I too bought the six ounce package of fideo. However, I found that the seasonings were too tame, so I would guess that I doubled the New Mexico Chili powder and used the full teaspoon of Mexican Oregano. I also added smoked paprika and cumin, my favorite spices. I don't measure much but I'd guess a half teaspoon of each. I started out with one large clove of garlic and added another after the noodles started softening.

    I used a whole 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, one chipotle with 1 tblspn of adobo (my boyfriend doesn't care for very spicy foods, if it were up to me I would have added another) and probably close to 2 cups of stock. The heat was nice but could have been more for my taste.

    I used two chicken breasts that I baked with smoked paprika, cumin, thyme and Pappy's seasoning.

    I also used the full cup (at least) of cheese. I wish I had used extra sharp though.

    I just finished my leftover lunch and I have to say it was better than last night's dinner. The flavors really melded overnight.

    I want to try it with another flavor profile, maybe more Italian with basil, mozzarella and parmesan or Greek with sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and feta.
    My men like hot so I used three chipotles; two would have been fine for more sensitive palates. I agree with the reader's comments about the smoked turkey. It doesnt add anything. I thought I would try ground turkey next time and maybe a little chorizo. I think this one is going with me to my next pot luck this fall.
    This is one of my new favorite recipes! Everyone I have made this for loves it! I did alter the recipe slightly and used chicken instead of turkey.

    The presentation is beautiful with the noodle bundles.
    I had to cheat and use Asian noodles as I couldn't find the kind the recipe called for...but, boy, was this meal excellent! My family raved and I will definitely keep it on hand for after TG turkey leftovers this year!
    I just have to say to those that said it was a "little dry" as written--it's supposed to be! Seca means dry....

    Anyway, we really liked it and I've even taken it to my school for a potluck. Everyone there who tasted it asked for the recipe.

    We use all the spices mentioned almost daily (as my husband is originally from Mexico City) and that made it easy. That was the only complaint my friends had--having to buy spices they don't normally use.

    I have made it as written and it's good. I've also substituted ground beef (ok) and browned stew meat (better) and shredded pork (probably the best).

    It's worth making--we never have leftovers!
    My sister and family were here for the week-end, so I decided to try this recipe.My husband is a picky eater and I thought he'd be polite if we had company!!Well, when he went for seconds and then thirds, well I almost fell out of my chair. I had to double the recipe due to all the extra people and this was the first time. Had to use the vermicelli, it was fun browning it in a huge pan, pasta went flying. But with everyone in the kitchen helping(?) we had a really fun time.
    The only thing that I couldn't put in was the chipolties in adobo, Glad I tasted it first, I like a little heat but just a drop on my tongue, really hot. I did get the Mexican Crema, use it, it really makes the dish.
    My husband announced "It's a keeper". Then I fainted!!
    Really GREAT dish.
    Last January we dined at a little Spanish restaurant in New Orleans and enjoyed fideo for the first time. This is very similar but with more of a Mexican flavor to it.
    I couldn't find the coiled vermicelli so I used broken up vermicelli that was in pieces a couple of inches long. I just browned it turning often and it came out just fine. You break it up anyway after it's browned so it really doesn't matter.
    I had leftover braised short rib meat that I used instead of the turkey, but seems like just about any meat or even shrimp would do.
    The vermicelli didn't get done in the amount of time given and needed more liquid too, so I just kept stirring and adding liquid until it was done before baking it with the cheese. As for the cheese, cheddar was good, but I will also try cotija.
    I'll make this again and again either as is, or experimenting with more Spanish flavors.
    We looooooved this dish! Easy to make and great as leftovers. Some of the recipes have been hit or miss, but this one was a real winner.
    I substituted sausage for the smoked turkey and I truly enjoyed the flavors of the coiander and oregano together. I have been making my grandmothers fideos recipe for years. It has always been a side dish with out the protien and a bit similar to mexican rice. Please don't tell my Abuelita, but I will never make this dish her way again!
    I am surprised to see so many favorable reviews for this dish. I made it once and it was so bad, I threw most of it into the trash. The flavor was so bland and boring. The texture was dry and stringy. The ingredients were hard to find, so I never tried to make it again or improve on it. I'm really shocked to see so many people say it's a family favorite or that they make it all the time. No explaining taste, I guess. I just have to say, it was really, really bad and I'd caution people not to be thrown by the description or the pictures.
    some how i didnt think it would be too hot to eat. it was way to spicey an it just seemed like it was sapposed to be italian but they made it mexican the texture was off it made it seem like something from a box instead of made from scratch nothing i will make again.
    I wish that when a recipe is posted it has the nutritional information posted with it. It would really help to know the calorie,fat,cholestrol, and sodium content of the recipes. Cause if they are higher than you want then you can choose not to make them. Thanks
    This is now our standard meal for leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It is just so good. Different, spicy and very noodly.
    This is my favorite new recipe in the past five+ years. The layers of flavor were amazing. I substituted tomatoes and green chilis for the whole tomatoes but, other than that, pretty much stuck to the recipe. I bought a smaller bag of fideo so I made 1/2 recipe ussing the whole recipe seasoning direction. When reheating the following day (couldn't wait for lunch) I did add some chicken broth.
    I couldn't wait to try this dish after reading all the great reviews, but I found it really disappointing. I thought it was really boring, and the texture was strange. Definately agree with the person who called this "glorified spaghettios". Although it was easy to make, I won't be making it again. There are better Mexican recipes out there!
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