Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dawn's Taco Soup

My good friend Dawn shared her taco soup recipe, which I think is the ideal "comfort food" on a blustery autumn or winter day. This recipe easily doubles (in fact, the recipe below is halved from the one she sent me, and it still made a LOT of soup), and it freezes well and tastes even better the next day because the flavors will have had more time to meld and develop. You can make it as thin or thick as you like by adding more or less broth/water, and you can adjust the spiciness by using more or less of the spices, hot sauce and seasoning mix. Enjoy!

1/2 to 1 can (16oz) Refried Beans (if you love the flavor of refried beans, go ahead and use a full can and plan on adding extra broth/water. I use fat-free refried beans for a healthier soup)
2 cans (15oz or 16oz each) of Black Beans or Dark Kidney Beans (or 1 can of each)
2 cans (15oz or 16oz each) of Great Northern Beans
2 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (even if you are not on a low-sodium diet, you'll want to use the low-sodium broth or else the soup will taste too salty--or use homemade broth)
1 can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles (some brands come in 10oz cans and others in 14oz cans, and either size will work)
1 can (14oz) Diced Tomatoes
1/2 to 1 small can (7oz) Shoepeg White Corn (use if the full can if you like a "corny" soup)
1 to 2 dollops of Dave's Hurtin' Habanero Hot Sauce, or El Yucateco Hot Sauce, or your favorite Mexican hot sauce or southwestern hot sauce
1/2 to 1 Tbs Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 to 1 Tbs Garlic Powder

1 or 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into small cubes or chunks
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Large Onion (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
1 1/2 to 2 Tbs of your favorite Taco Seasoning mix (use a low-sodium blend if you want to cut back on salt)

Rinse and drain all the beans (except the refried beans, of course!) and place in a large stock pot with the tomatoes, corn and chicken broth. Add the Hot Sauce, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and chicken broth, stirring well to help break up the refried beans. If you prefer a thinner soup, just stir in either more chicken broth or some water. Place on low to med-low heat to start warming, stirring frequently.

While the soup is heating, heat the olive oil in a skillet over med-high heat and begin browning the chicken chunks. When the chicken looks almost done but isn't cooked all the way yet, sprinkle with the Taco Seasoning mix and stir to mix well. Add the onions, stir and cover to finish cooking the chicken, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the chicken is cooked through and the onions are almost clear, add all of this to the stock pot and stir well. Take a taste and add more hot sauce or spices if you wish. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes over low-medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom. Serve piping hot "as is," or with some shredded cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream or chopped avocado if you like.

Zestfully yours,

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