Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Beef Nacho Soup

In their most basic form, nachos are simply corn tortilla chips and melted cheese. This soup takes the seasoned beef, cheese, tortillas, tomatoes and chili peppers and combines them in a bowl of steaming yumminess. That is too a word.

Anyway, there is one version of beef nacho soup that seems prolific across the web. Everyone posts it and it seems that everyone "owns" it, but it's exactly the same recipe. Beef, taco seasoning, cheese soup, diced tomatoes with green chilies and milk.

I have an aversion to canned soups in recipes. I've done it. I mean, I have 7 kids, of course I use shortcuts! But, when it comes to a soup blog, I can't conscionably tell you to use a canned soup in the preparation of another soup. That even sounds weird.

So, rather than use a highly processed can of soup, I used a highly processed block of cheese. Yep, I used Velveeta. I often use Velveeta for macaroni and cheese (it's killer - trust me) and it ads the right creaminess without separation like real cheddar.

Here's the recipe, with baked tortilla chips on top - because I had to assuage the Velveeta guilt somehow -  and fresh cilantro, sour cream and black olives as well, although you can top this soup however you top your nachos.

Beef Nacho Soup
Printable Recipe
Serves 6
Total Time: 30 minutes

1 pound ground beef
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic - minced
3 cups beef stock
1 can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
8 ounces Velveeta - cubed
Salt to taste
6 ounces tortilla chips
Garnishes such as: sour cream, black olives, fresh Cilantro, salsa, shredded cheese or sliced jalapeƱos.

1. Brown ground beef in a medium soup pot and drain off fat. Add spices and stir well.
2. Pour in stock and tomatoes. Heat over medium-low heat for 20 minutes so flavors can meld.
3. Add Velveeta and stir until melted and smooth. Salt to your liking.
4. Serve in bowls with toppings.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Michigan Chicken, Bean and Sausage Stew

I've had this recipe floating around in my stores for a very long time. It's even written down in my family cookbook, but with no real directions, just ingredients and amounts. So, today I took the challenge of getting this together in a deliciously edible form to share.

I haven't the faintest idea why it's titled "Michigan", but it sure is good. Canned beans are fine, but I really prefer dry to start with. I almost always forget to soak overnight so I end up doing the fast soak method and the beans turn out just fine.

Any type of sausage will do, I prefer a good country-style sausage, but Italian is tasty and a smoky kielbasa would be great as well. The original recipe calls for salt pork to start, and I'll put that in the recipe, but I started with olive oil for a bit of a healthier alternative. I also added lemon juice to brighten it up and add some contrast.

Michigan Chicken, Bean and Sausage Stew
Printable Recipe
Serves 8

1 pound navy beans, sorted, soaked and cooked until tender OR 4 - 15 ounce cans of beans, drained)
4 ounces salt pork - diced fine OR 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onion
2 pounds cooked chicken (any cut) diced into cubes
1 1/2 pounds sausage, cooked and sliced thickly - about 1/2"
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 - 15 ounce can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon juice to taste

1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add olive oil or salt pork. If adding salt pork, render for several minutes. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent, do not brown.
2. Add chicken and sausage and stir well. Pour in beans and stock and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes - uncovered.
3. Put in bay leaves, thyme and tomato sauce. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes - uncovered until thick. Remove bay leaves, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and serve.