Sopa seca…or…what do I do with this leftover hamburger??

I have been in Denver the past week, which means I left my three kiddos home with Dad. It was an awesome week,  but I am so glad to be home. Before I left, I stocked the fridge and cabinets and made a meal plan for them to follow in my absence. On Taco Tuesday, I got a weird message from my husband that apparently was a question about where the taco meat was. It was weird; he is weird…so I ignored the message. Wah wah wah…lo and behold, the family was in dire need of hamburger (which was in the freezer), so they went out and bought more. With now thrice the required amount of hamburger, what is a husband to do with one packet of taco seasoning? He cooked one pound with the seasoning, and one pound with no seasonings. He used the seasoned stuff for tacos and the bland, gray crumbles for me to deal with when I got home.

Challenge accepted.

Have you heard of Sopa Seca? It’s the perfect dish for leftover hamburger, no doubt. Translated into English, it means dry soup. Have you ever cracked open a box of Rice-A-Roni? Or fussed over a pot of risotto? Sopa Seca has qualities shared by both. The first step to sopa seca is to brown your vermicelli noodles in some oil until nice and toasty. You can add veggies to saute as well, or bland, cooked hamburger, like I had on hand. Once the veggies are soft, vermicelli is toasted, add spices. I added Mexican Oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Next step is to add some liquid. I chose a smallish can of tomato sauce, mixed with some beef broth. The key is to add a bit of liquid at a time, let it boil and bubble, stir it around, add more liquid, boil, stir…until the pasta is the right texture. So it’s fussy in a way, like risotto, but you really don’t have to stir it as much as the rice dish. Just make sure it doesn’t burn or stick, because tomato sauce has quite a bit of natural sugar that loves to stick and burn.

To finish it off? Cilantro and feta cheese. Not fancy, not difficult. Delicious.