We love Mexican food around here. But once it gets cold, tacos just don’t seem warming enough somehow.
My solution? Taco soup!
I first got this idea from my sister-in-law. I’ve since branched out and created my own version. Here’s my cast of characters:
I start by frying my homemade taco seasoning in a bit of oil – I used peanut – to ‘bloom’ them. It doesn’t take long – about 20-30 seconds – but it really brings out their flavor in the finished soup.
Then I add my beef and brown it.
Next in goes a chopped onion, or in today’s case, the equivalent amount in frozen leeks. These were from an Ocean Beauty Dock Sale awhile back, which I brought home and vacuum-sealed. A huge bag of pre-cut leeks for about a dollar makes for great, inexpensive soup ingredients!
The chipotle veggies are from the same source. A frozen veggie mix from the store works just fine too – but this one seems tailor-made for this soup as it contains peppers, onions and corn.
Then come the beans. I like black beans; use whatever suits your fancy. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, and rinse before using. I also used two cans in this batch; I wanted to stretch it a bit more.
I ran out of diced tomatoes, so I grabbed a jar of whole tomatoes and stirred it with a knife; that broke them up just fine for this soup. I added them juice and all. We can our own tomatoes, which really improves the flavor of any dish I add them to.
A month or so ago, I forgot to add the tomatoes… and no one noticed! So, if you’re avoiding nightshades, just leave them out; no harm done.
Last is the broth. I canned broth in small jars earlier in the year, for convenience in recipes using smaller quantities of broth. Now that I’ve got this fall’s broth in the pantry, I’m using up the last of the earlier batches to keep things rotated. I usually use a pint or so of each, both chicken and beef. All-chicken or all-beef makes perfectly good soup, too.
Every summer, when I start canning, I wonder why on earth I need so many jars. Then I look at the results of recipes like this one:
Oh, yeah… that’s why. Six jars in one meal!
I let the pot simmer on the stove for half an hour. Normally, I make this in the crock pot and let it sit on low for a few hours (3 -5 or so), but tonight I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table.
While the soup simmered, I made guacamole, rounded up the other toppings, and got the table set.
Here’s my rendition of Taco Soup with all the trimmings! At the table, I added:
Sour cream – go here for my chipotle version
Crushed corn chips (we like the “Little Dippers” from Trader Joe’s)
… and, of course, a spoon.
Best of all – the Moose can have it, because the soup itself is gluten and dairy free!
1 batch taco seasoning
2 T. oil (peanut or grapeseed is best)
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced (or 1 c. chopped leeks)
4 c. (-ish) of frozen veggies
1 or 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed in strainer
1 quart chopped tomatoes, not drained
1 pint beef broth
1 pint chicken broth
½ t. salt (opt.)
- Bloom spices in pan with oil for 20-30 seconds, until spices are fragrant.
- Add beef and brown. (At this point, you can move the whole thing to the crock pot, add everything else, turn it on low and serve it from there in 3-5 hours.)
- If you’re still at the stove: add onion and veggies and cook till they’re about half done, about five minutes – ten if they’re frozen.
- Add beans, tomatoes and broth. And salt, if you’re so inclined.
- Simmer for half hour to let flavors meld.
- Serve with chipotle sour cream, corn chips, shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, guacamole, etc.