I always think of a cold or rainy day as soup day. Soup is one of those dishes that instantly warms you and satisfies your hunger.
Soups are very easy to prepare when company arrives, as there is not much babysitting involved. This must be the reason why when a parranda arrived in the middle of the night at our house during the Christmas holidays, mom would prepare a huge asopao (chicken with rice soups and potatoes) for the merry crowd. The soup would cook while the crowd partied in the living room. Once served, the guests consumed the soup and off they all went, kids in tow, to the next house to party in the middle of the night.
Enough reminiscing. I am hungry and there is some smoked ham in my freezer. Time to make sopas de jamón. It is as simple to prepare as it is satisfying. All you need is ham, potatoes and fideos as the main ingredients, 20 minutes of your time to cook and you are in business.
A bowl of soup, a torn loaf of bread piece or some white rice as accompaniment and I am in heaven. You too can reach soup Nirvana…
Sopas de Jamon
2 Cups of your favorite smoked ham
4 Tablespoons sofrito
2 Tablespoons annatto colored oil or ½ teaspoon of Bijol powder and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 Teaspoon cumin powder
1 Teaspoon dried oregano
½ Teaspoon salt or to taste
12 Ounces Spanish style tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon olives and capers
3 Medium white potatoes cut into chunks
Fidelinni noodles (Fideos; can substitute with angel hair pasta if desperate)
6 cups water
1.Cut ham into bite size chunks. Set aside.
2.Add sofrito, annatto, cumin, oregano, salt, olives and capers and tomato sauce to the pot and sautee for approximately 3 minutes to release the flavors.
3.Add the remaining ingredients (water and potatoes) except the noodles to the pot and cook on medium high for 10 minutes.
4.Crush 3 or 4 noodle (fideos) nests with your hands and add to the pot.
5.Continue the process for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes and noodles are cooked, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot.