Wednesday, March 10, 2010

7-Can Taco Soup

Seven can taco soup is such a quick and easy soup to throw together, with a well stocked pantry you can whip it up in no time and customize it to your own liking.
Seven can taco soup is such a quick and easy soup to throw together, with a well stocked pantry you can whip it up in no time and customize it to your own liking.

7-Can Taco Soup

While 7-Can Taco Soup may not be a classic southern recipe, it is certainly a very popular recipe in the south, no doubt because it feeds a crowd, is a party favorite, and is simply delicious. It's also another one of those recipes that's been around forever.

Called 7-Can Taco Soup, because it uses 7 cans of some combination of beans, tomatoes and veggies - my cans of choice are diced tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, canned green chilies, chili beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and a can of corn. What you put in it varies from recipe to recipe, so settle on your own favorites and use whatever number of cans you like. This combination just happens to be the way I like mine.

Here's how to make it.

Vary the beans - some people use black beans or northern beans, or several cans of kidney beans. Go for it! Some use salsa or picante instead of Rotel tomatoes. Some like to use cream corn instead of whole kernel corn and I've even seen a recipe using mixed vegetables. Some people use water, some chicken broth. I prefer beef broth myself. Some people even like to add small shell or macaroni pasta. If you don't like the selection of "cans" here, mix it up and make it your own.


A lot of people also simmer this in the crockpot all day while they tend to the rest of life, but this comes together so quick and really only needs a 30 minutes simmer so I do mine on the stovetop. We're using canned beans so I don't want them to go mushy on me. I like to let it low simmer about an hour though, just to let all the flavors sort of marry and meld together, though it can also be held over low for quite awhile, perfect for those times the family seems to be eating in shifts.

With the exception of the chili beans - because they are packed in a chili sauce - I drain and rinse the beans I use.
Most canned beans are extremely high in sodium, and draining and rinsing them supposedly gets rid of nearly half of the sodium level, and... just so you know, it apparently also helps to reduce some of those troublesome gas-causing sugars as well. Even still, we're talking canned goods and packaged goods here, so there is plenty of sodium present despite that, and it's unlikely you will need any additional salt, or even pepper. You can, of course, make your own homemade ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning, instead of using the packets, if you like.


My favorite garnishes include finely shredded cheese, chopped tomato, diced avocado, homemade tortilla strips, sour cream and sliced green onion. A yummy delicious soup, great for a rainy day, and especially good when you find yourself with a herd of kids running thorough your kitchen, all on different eating schedules. Makes plenty, holds well, and is even better leftover.


Don't forget to recycle those cans!


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Recipe: 7-Can Taco Soup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 45 min
Yield: About 6 servings


Ingredients
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 envelope of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can of green chilies, undrained
  • 4 cups of beef broth or stock
  • 1 can of chili beans, undrained
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • Optional Garnishes: Finely shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, Chopped fresh tomato, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, homemade or commercial tortilla strips, Sour cream, sliced pickled jalapeno, green onion, chopped fresh cilantro, finely chopped red or yellow onion.
Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, add the ground beef and onion and cook until beef is browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the ranch dressing and taco seasoning packets and cook and stir for another minute. Add the un-drained, diced tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, and green chilies; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in the beef broth and the undrained chili beans. Drain and rinse the kidney beans and pinto beans; drain the corn and add all to the pot and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Can hold longer over low heat.

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese, chopped tomato, diced avocado, tortilla chips, green onion and a dollop of sour cream, or your own favorite toppings, if desired.

Cook's Notes: To reduce sodium content, make your own homemade seasoning mixes and use lower sodium products. This is the mix of beans and veggies that I use, but with a well stocked pantry, you can vary the recipe according to your own tastes, using a variety of substitutes. I also like to add in 1/2 pound of raw sausage such as breakfast, Italian sausage or bratwurst along with the ground beef. Swap the beef for ground turkey or use cooked, shredded chicken for a different twist. If using a higher fat beef, omit the cooking oil.

For the Crockpot: Brown the meat, drain and add it with remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, reduce and hold on low until needed. May also heat through on the stove, and transfer to the slow cooker to keep warm.

Taco Goulash: Reduce beef broth to 1-1/2 cups and stir in 1-1/2 cups dry medium shells, elbow macaroni or other short cut pasta.

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