Thursday, November 1, 2012

Soup's On!

I thought it had been a while since I last posted here and then I looked at the date and it has been several weeks.  Don't think I have been so lucky to eat out every meal the entire month of October because I haven't.  I have just tried very little new and/or different food.  It seems like we have been eating a lot of previously frozen soups and entrees.  I guess I am cleaning the freezer of all of our past meals, getting ready for an onslaught of holiday leftovers ?

I was browsing through the old Junior League  "Magic" cookbook trying to find a different type of soup.  We eat boatloads of soup during the fall and winter.  It  is probably my favorite thing to eat  ( other than chocolate of course) and I keep a container in the freezer for all the odd bits of vegetables we have leftover from meals.  When it is full I toss a little leftover chicken in it and we have some variation of chicken and veggie soup.  But I wanted something different and more substantial, plus I didn't have quite enough in the  freezer container to make  a dinner soup.

Thanks Junior League for the idea!

Tamale Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
2 cans undrained pinto beans
1 can creamed corn
1 can beef bouillon
2 jars Derby hot tamales or 2  16 ounce cans of any brand, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef, add onions and peppers and cook until the vegetables are nicely wilted.  Drain the meat vegetable mix and put into a large pot.   Add all ingredients except for the tamales and simmer for about an hour.  Add the tamales shortly before serving .  Put a lid on the pot and without stirring allow the tamales to warm on top of the soup.  Serve and enjoy.

If you have been reading this you know I use recipes as guides only.  I had some frozen already browned beef so I used it. ( Check off another item from the freezer!)  I only had 1/2 of a bell pepper, but I also had a small jalapeno so I used it too.  I had portions of 3 different types of onions in the fridge so this had a combination of sweet and sharp onions. 

Instead  of the stewed tomatoes I used a pack frozen this summer.  They were not cooked, just blanched and frozen, but I figured they would be stewed by the end of the cooking process. ( Maybe 2 cups of tomatoes?)  

 I did use the canned pinto beans.  I have been boycotting canned foods because of the  toxic inner plastic lining.  Fortunately Organic Harvest carries a brand that has no lining and the beans are organic. Add to it that they were on sale____bonus!  

I can't find organic creamed corn, so I kind of cheated on this on.  I took a can of regular niblet corn ( organic and non GMO corn)  and added a tad of milk and cornstarch to it, heated it to slightly thickened and dumped it in the pot. ( And for the record, since I am avoiding all GMO corn I do buy organic cornstarch) 

I have never even heard of canned bouillon so obviously I didn't use it.  I had a carton of vegetable stock I used instead.   I used the whole carton and it was about 2 cups of broth.  It probably thinned the finished product out a little but it's soup.  The soup didn't care, so neither did I.

After letting it simmer for about 30 minutes I tasted it and found it to be a little boring.  A quick look in the spice cabinet was the remedy.  I have no idea how much I added but would start at 1/2 teaspoon of each and adjust to taste:  Chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, dehydrated garlic ( should have used real garlic at the beginning)  paprika,  ground chipotle, and a dash of pepper.  With literally just a few shakes of a few jars the soup took on an entirely different personality.

My MISTAKE and I will not make this one again.  I used canned ( yeah I know I railed against canned earlier) Hormel tamales.  Next time I will run up to The Cool Corner and buy 3 tamales to slice.  The canned Hormel tamales tasted exactly like what they were_____canned tamales.  Buy decent ones from the start.  I think it will make all the difference in the world.

Not only will I make this again, but The Hub specifically asked me to get everything needed so we can have it again next week.  Winner!  I love when someone makes a meal request.  I like cooking but sometimes hate deciding what to cook!

For the two of us, I halved everything and it was enough for both of us for dinner plus about a cup for a future lunch.

Now does anyone have any ideas for using leftover Trick or Treat Hershey Bars?

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