Take Taco Soup. For the past ten years or so, I’ve been following a stellar recipe from my former sister-in-law. This woman can crank out taco soup and fresh tortillas for twenty people without breaking a sweat. She’s a phenomenal host. Her soup is filled with ground beef, corn, kidney beans and a spicy broth. It’s topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream and eaten with fresh, homemade tortillas. It’s quite possible that my body craves this…
Since beans and corn are in the no-fly zone, I’m spinning this around a bit. I know it’s risky to take on a classic, but I’m hoping the gamble pays off.
- 1-1.5 lbs of ground beef or turkey
- 1 orange bell pepper, large dice
- 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced finely
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 1 – 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 ancho chili powder
- 1 tsp (regular) chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- black pepper, couple grinds
…or save yourself some trouble and just heap in a couple tablespoons of your favorite taco seasoning.
Fresh cilantro, avocado, lime and Salsa Fresca
Start heating a large soup pot to medium high–in my kitchen, it’s a Dutch Oven. Add a little fat to the pan to get it started. While that’s heating, prepare the vegetables, open the can of tomatoes, get the stock measured out. If you plan to use the seasoning blend, I would recommend mixing it all together in a small bowl first, so you’re not hovering over a hot pan juggling spice jars and measuring spoons.
When the pan comes to temp, add the ground meat and carrots. Let this go until the meat is no longer pink.
Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic, Serrano/jalapeño and the seasoning blend (or pre-made taco seasoning, it’s up to you). Mix this well. Cook until the vegetables are just soft, the ground meat has some color to it and brown bits are sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Time for the stock and crushed tomatoes. Stock goes first though… gotta deglaze.
Stir your soup together, reduce the heat and cover. If you have an hour to let this simmer, reduce the heat to low and let it go. If you need to eat sooner, reduce heat to medium/medium-low and maybe give it 15-20 more minutes.
Get all your toppings ready and your serving bowls out. Load yourself up as needed…and it really is a need. Enjoy this fresh, healthy, quick meal (which also happens to make excellent leftovers for anyone needing easy to-go lunch ideas).
I make this for groups and no one even knows they’re eating Paleo. I do set out tortilla chips and offer sour cream and cheese for guests, but most don’t feel they need it when eyeing a mound of fresh avocado, cilantro, lime and Salsa Fresca on top of their soup.
By the way, this can easily be made into a vegetarian–even vegan–dish. Replace the ground meat with a can of kidney beans and a handful of sliced mushrooms, follow the same prep instructions.