Traditional flavor in a quick dish = easy Taco Tuesday
Tacos. What’s not to like? Well, they can be messy to eat, OK. But we have a fix for that.
Taco Soup gives you all the flavor with none of the greasy lap blobs. It’s an easy one-pot dish that’s perfect for weeknight dinner. But it’s still jazzy enough for weekends.
Of course, this dish is a natural for your Cinco de Mayo celebration next week. And May 5th just happens to fall on a Tuesday this year.
We think that’s a sign.
Recipe: Taco Soup with Chicken
We’re making this Taco Soup with leftover Slow-Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken. But you could also shred some supermarket rotisserie chicken and use that (see Notes).
You can’t have tacos without tortillas, of course (preferably corn tortillas). We cut ours into strips, crisp them in the microwave, then stir them into the soup right before serving. This is an easy method that produces good results. The more traditional method is to shallow fry them in oil, which arguably makes for crisper tortilla strips with slightly better flavor (but it’s much messier).
Preparation and cooking time for this dish is 30 to 40 minutes.
This recipe yields 4 main-course servings.
- 1 medium onion (about 1 cup when chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeño pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ~½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste; see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (see Notes for substitutions)
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ~1 cup shredded chicken (or more to taste)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can beans (pinto, kidney, or black beans work best in this dish)
- 4 corn tortillas
- 1 to 2 handfuls of frozen corn
- shredded cheddar cheese and jalapeño slices for garnish (optional; see Notes)
- Peel the onion, cut it in half through the poles, then cut it into dice of about ½ inch. Set aside.
- Peel the garlic and mince it finely or cut into thin slices. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the jalapeño pepper. Cut off the stem end, then cut the pepper in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds and the white membrane (the oil in these carries much of the jalapeño heat). Mince the pepper finely (reserving a few rounds for garnish if you wish). Set aside. Then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the spicy jalapeño oil from your skin.
- Place a 4-quart cooking pot over medium stovetop heat. When the pot is hot, add the oil and let it heat (about 15 seconds; it’ll shimmer). Add the chopped onion and season to taste with salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic and jalapeño pepper. Cook for an additional minute.
- Add the spices (chile powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano). Stir the spices into the oil for about 15 seconds. Add the shredded chicken, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes. Drain and rinse the canned beans, then add them to the cooking pot. Cook for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the tortillas into strips and microwave them until they’re crispy (about two minutes, depending on your microwave).
- About 5 minutes before serving, add the corn to the soup pot. When the corn is cooked, taste the soup. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Add the crispy tortilla strips to the bowls. Garnish each bowl with shredded cheddar cheese and a jalapeño slice, if you wish. Serve.
- Exact measurements are not critical for this recipe. So feel free to adjust quantities to your own taste.
- You could substitute cotija or Monterey Jack cheese for cheddar if you wish.
- Want other garnish ideas? Try chopped cilantro. Or a dollop of sour cream. Or skip the tortilla strips and use crumbled corn chips instead.
- Don’t have leftover Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken on hand? You can use any leftover shredded chicken. Or even supermarket rotisserie chicken. In that case, we suggest doubling the amount of chile powder in the recipe. And maybe adding a few extra pinches of the other spices.
- You could use beef in this dish instead of chicken. Just season some ground beef with taco flavors (check out our recipe for Beef Tacos for seasoning suggestions).
- We use ancho chile powder in this dish because it has good flavor and isn’t too spicy hot (we always put a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those who want to add more heat).
- Want to substitute another dried chile powder? Our choice would be either medium-hot Hatch chile powder or chipotle chile powder.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
Every Day Is Tuesday When You’re Locked Down
“Delicioso!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This soup is a nice twist on the trad taco.”
“And a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo,” I said. “Especially since social distancing means we can’t go out to celebrate this year.”
“At least we don’t have to distance ourselves from our favorite Mexican food,” said Mrs K R.
“And we’ll be too busy eating to taco ‘bout coronavirus,” I said.
“Don’t start with the puns,” said Mrs K R. “Or I may order you to self-isolate.”
Right. Stick a mask on it.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Slow-Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken
Quick and Easy Tacos
Shredded-Beef Soft Tacos
Mexican Charro Beans
Velveeta Tex-Mex Dip
Carnitas in Adobo Saucae
Tex-Mex Shredded-Beef Enchiladas
Homemade Corn Tortillas
Or check out the index for more