Shrimp, Ancho Chile, and Pasta Soup (Sopa Seca de Camarones y Fideos)
Fideos (vermicelli) are much loved in Mexico, where they form the basis of thick, delicious soups. Usually the soups are served as a first course, but our hearty shrimp version is a meal in a bowl.
The ultimate crowd-pleaser, nachos were invented in 1943 by a maître d' in Piedras Negras, Mexico (just south of the Texas border). Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, working a solo shift at the Victory Club restaurant, cobbled together a pile of tortilla chips topped with melted cheese and pickled jalapeños for a group of U.S. military wives in for a snack. His creation became hugely popular, paving the way for massive concession-stand revenues across America. Our super-stacked version has tangy chorizo, juicy chopped steak, black beans, guacamole, and crisp lettuce.
QUICK TIP: HOW HOT IS YOUR CHILE?
To assess a chile's heat, slice off its top through the ribs and seeds, where the heat-producing compound capsaicin is concentrated. Touch the slice to you tongue. If you want your food to be milder, split the chile and scrape out all or some of the ribs and seeds. If your skin is sensitive, wear kitchen gloves or hold the chiles with a fork ― and don't touch your eyes.
THE REFRESHING WORLD OF MEXICAN CERVEZA
Few drinks taste better with a meaty, spicy plate of nachos (or any of the other recipes in this story) than a nice, cold Mexican beer, one meant for quaffing rather than sipping. Corona, the top-selling Mexican beer in the United States, is just one of dozens of south-of-the-border brews, the legacy of beer-making Germans and Czechs who immigrated to Mexico in the 1800s. Some of our favorite easy-drinking beers:
Bohemia A delicately hoppy, aromatic, well-structured pilsner in the Czech style. One of the best Mexican beers, it's also one of the oldest: Brewing giant Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma began producing it in 1905.
Dos Equis Created by brewmaster Wilhelm Hasse, an emigrant from Germany, in 1897. The golden, mild Dos Equis Lager (green bottle) is a German-style pilsner; the medium-bodied Dos Equis Ambar (brown bottle) is modeled on a Viennese lager. The dos equis ("two x's") on the label commemorate the start of the 20th century.
Negra Modelo A Munich-style lager brewed by Grupo Modelo, Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma's biggest rival, known by its wide brown bottle, reddish brown hue, and rich malt flavor.
Pacifico An easy-to-drink beer. Pleasantly bitter (light hops) and good for putting out chile fire.
Sol First made in 1899, the golden lager Sol (Spanish for "sun") is clean, crisp, and light.
Tecate A light beer named after the Mexican border town where it was first brewed. Tecate was Mexico's first canned beer.