This is not a Mexican dish. It is about as far from “authentic” Mexican food as Taco Bell is – except for my dish is laden with goodies instead of Grade D beef and sour cream that comes out of a caulk gun.
This is taco soup.
Reasons I love this recipe:
- Taco soup is a dump recipe. As in, you dump a bunch of things in a pot and voila! Soup!
- It is the flexible-est. (Did you know what I meant? Then it’s a word.)
- It is filling.
- It is warm.
- I get to serve it with copious amounts of guacamole and sour cream and tortilla chips and cheese.
The first time I made taco soup I spent more than an hour pouring over recipes online. I took diligent notes: which versions got the highest ratings? Which versions sounded the easiest? What were the common ingredients? I concocted a Kate-version which I had not the tiniest smidge of confidence in.
When my husband came in the door that night, he announced “Hey honey. I invited Alan over for dinner!”
Great. Using my family as guinea pigs was one thing, but poisoning an unsuspecting teenager? That’s how you get a reputation. I served the soup with LOTS of fixin’s, so that if everyone hated it they could just fill up on chips and various dips and not have to feel awkward about how little they ate.
I watched my husband lift the spoon to his mouth.
He slurped again.
I asked, “How is it?”
I will never forget his response as long as I live. He said,
“I can’t imagine it being any better.”
THAT’S RIGHT. KATE: 9,471,047,603,476; KITCHEN: 0.
I almost don’t know where to start with ingredients because it is truly, truly so flexible. I’ve made it different every time, so I’m just going to tell you how I made it tonight.
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 large can corn
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped,
- 1/2 packet of low-sodium taco seasoning
- 1 box organic low-sodium chicken broth
(The San Pellegrino in the background is not for taco soup. It is for my hospital bag. Because if I have to wear a paper hospital gown, then gosh darn it, I’m going to be sipping on fancy sparkling mineral water while I do.)
Step one: Dump all the cans into the pot. The only things I drain are the beans. This soup gets nice and thick and stew-y, so I leave the rest of the juices in there for added liquid and flavor. (I also added a few big “plops” of fresh salsa – I just forgot to take it out of the fridge for this picture.)
I’m not a big fan of beans, so I add extra tomatoes and corn. Tailor it to your taste! Want peppers? Add peppers. Want beans? Add beans! I’ve never been able to mess it up – and that’s saying something.
I only used half of the seasoning packet, because with the salsa and the Rotel it doesn’t need the flavor (or the sodium and other junk that comes with it). I try to get the “lower sodium” versions of my ingredients when I make “dump recipes;” it sneaks into almost all canned goods, so it adds up in a recipe like this.
Step two: While those flavors are starting to meld, shred up some chicken.
I happened to have a giant pan full of chicken baked since I was in the middle of freezing meals for after the baby. You could use ground beef, ground turkey, cook your chicken in a skillet (faster), or in the oven a la my quesadillas (easier). THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!!
Step 3: Add an onion. I didn’t sautee mine or anything because I had enough time to let the soup simmer for more than an hour, so I knew they’d get nice and clear in the pot.
The longer you simmer your soup, the better it will be. Like most casseroles, soups, and dips; it’s better the second day after the flavors meld.
I ladle a bit into a sweet little bowl (if you put tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl first, it turns into tortilla soup and it’s fabulous), sprinkle on some colby jack cheese, and top with a dollop of sour cream.
Oh, friends. Hearty, packed with protein, with strings of melted cheese on top. It’s the best!
- 1 stock pot
- 1 ladle and 1 knife
- 1 pan (for cooking chicken)
- 1 cutting board
And that’s it! Room to spare in the dishwasher, y’alll!
Give it a try and make it your own. If you have an inspired amendment, leave it in the comments so we can try it out, too! Enjoy!
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