I sit here in something of a state of disbelief as I type this post out, because I’m a bit surprised it’s taken me this long to share one of my favorite childhood meals. Trust me, it’s been on my to-blog list for quite some time. And here we are at last, right?
This is taco soup, a perennial favorite from my family growing up. It’s hearty, filling, tasty, easy, nutritious, and my mom knew she could throw this together whenever she felt like it and no one would express anything but sheer enthusiasm at the dinner table. A welcome respite for her, I’m sure. She had the unenviable task of cooking for four fairly different palates, so everyone agreeing on all aspects of a meal didn’t happen very often.
But I think we all agreed on taco soup. I still love it, all these years later. The first winter season we were married, I introduced Matt to this delicious family favorite, and happily, he’s joined its ranks of fandom. I try to make it once a year. And I’m so happy to finally be sharing it with you!
Recipe notes: this is called soup, but it’s a bit thicker than traditional soup. However, it should not be as thick as chili. You should need a spoon to eat it. You can also add more chili powder if you want, my mom always added up to 2 tablespoons in addition to the Mexican spice mix. I found mine didn’t need it, but if yours does, of course feel free to add it. I think that’s it! Enjoy!
2 lbs. ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 recipe All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix
1 recipe Homemade Ranch Seasoning Packet
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomato, preferably fire-roasted variety
8-10 oz. frozen corn (no need to thaw)
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
Beef stock or water, as needed
1 tbs hot sauce, such as TX Pete’s
Shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, for garnish
Tortilla chips, for garnish
Preheat a large stockpot or Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then add the sirloin. Cook, breaking up and crumbling with a spoon or potato masher, until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and jalapeno, plus salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the spice mixes and stir well to combine.
Now add the beer and stir for about 30 seconds, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, corn, and pinto beans. Stir to combine, then simmer the soup for about 1 hour. Check in occasionally and add some beef stock or water if the soup is thickening too much.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add the hot sauce. Serve with the cheese and tortilla chips to garnish.
Leftovers reheat spectacularly, and this soup will freeze well too.