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Sopa seca is a type of Mexican casserole. Even though the name of the casserole literally means "dry soup," this dish is not a soup at all. The name sopa seca is believed to come from the cooking process required to make this dish. Sopa seca begins as a sort of soupy mixture, though the liquid inside of the mixture eventually dries, creating a casserole-like consistency.
As with most classic comfort foods, there are many different versions of sopa seca. Essentially, this dish includes tomatoes, chicken, cheese, and dry noodles. Preparation includes browning noodles, blending together a tomato-based sauce, simmering chicken pieces in oil, adding a large amount of cheese, generally mozzarella, and baking the entire dish for twenty to thirty minutes.
Since this type of Mexican casserole is largely versatile, it is possible to make this dish extremely spicy. Likewise, it is easy to adjust this dish to suit those who prefer a milder sauce. Throughout Mexico, this type of casserole is frequently served as a family meal. In most instances, younger children enjoy this dish due to the simplicity of the casserole. In addition to making an excellent, and relatively simple, family meal, sopa seca is also a satisfying leftover dish.
Some people serve Mexican casseroles of this type with cream. Others prefer to eat it without any kind of accompaniment. While casseroles of this type can be found throughout Mexico, most North American Mexican restaurants do not serve noodle dishes of this kind. Those who wish to try this type of casserole can find many different recipes in Mexican cookbooks and online.
The important thing to remember when making this Mexican casserole dish is to use fresh ingredients. Spices should be whole, the chicken used in this recipe should be properly cleaned and rinsed, and the tomatoes used to make the sauce base should be ripe. Sausage or ground meat can be used in place of chicken when creating this dish, though these meats should be browned prior to adding them to the dish.
Many people enjoy making sopa seca, since this dish is relatively inexpensive to prepare. The ingredients included in this dish can be found at nearly any grocery store or farmers' market, and most of the ingredients are not expensive. Traditional recipes include Mexican noodles called fideos, though any type of small and thin noodle, such as vermicelli, can be used.
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