Southwestern Taco Soup will warm you up on a cold winter’s night. Imagine all of your favorite Mexican flavors in a hearty bowl of soup. It is filling enough to make a meal of on its own.
This soup is easy to adapt to your personal heat comfort level, although this version is not particularly hot. Keep in mind that the chiles will lose a lot of their heat factor by the cooking process and dilution. If you can’t handle spicy hot foods, simply omit the serrano or jalapeno chiles and substitute pico de gallo for the salsa. If you love spicy-hot foods, add another chile and use hot salsa.
Southwestern Taco Soup Recipe
1 cup chopped sweet onions
2 large cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 fresh serrano or jalapeno chile peppers
1 pound chuck ground beef (80/20 mix)
1 can (7 ounces) mild green chiles
1 packet taco seasoning mix, unprepared
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup long-grain rice
6 cups strong chicken or vegetable broth (see Notes)
2 cups mild or hot chunky salsa, prepared or homemade (see Notes)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, unthawed
1 cup fine-shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus more chips for serving
1/2 cup sliced green onions (scallions), including green tops
Hot sauce to taste
Get your prep work done first, because this goes together fairly quickly. Chop the onions and run the garlic through a garlic press. Coarsely chop the cilantro. (I use an ulu knife to make quick work of this task.)
Before you attack the serrano chiles, I suggest wearing gloves. Even though serranos and jalapenos rank milder on the Scoville chile heat chart than cayenne or chipotles, their oils can still cause mild discomfort to those with sensitive hands. Slice open the chiles and remove the seeds and white rib membranes (this is where most of the heat is stored), then mince them into a 1/4-inch dice. Wash your hands and the cutting board, just to be clear of those chile oils.
Place a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. When hot, brown the ground beef. Try to keep some large chunks. Drain off the excess oil.
Return the drained browned beef to the pot. Add the onions, garlic, cilantro, chopped serrano chiles, mild green chiles, taco seasoning mix, cumin, celery salt, oregano, chili powder, and rice. Give it a good stir to combine.
Add the chicken or vegetable broth and salsa. Return to a low boil and simmer 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and/or hot sauce if needed.
Stir in the black beans and frozen corn. Simmer another 5 minutes to heat through, and it is ready.
Serve with a topping of shredded Cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and sliced green onions, along with additional tortilla chips on the side.
• You may use canned or boxed broths, if you wish, but this can be a costly endeavor. In this soup, a broth made from powdered or paste bouillon will work just fine. I like the Caldo® bouillon powder or the Better Than Bouillon® paste which makes it easy to adjust the strength of the broth. Both are rich in flavor.
• You may substitute pico de gallo or Ro-Tel® for the salsa.