I’ve been very, very busy lately.
Longing for a good home-made soup or stew.
Too many meals that have been a grab of something out of the fridge as I’m racing out the door.
I don’t like that.
What I do like is this: Tex-Mex Stew.
Just what I needed this day – a chance to throw together a pot of yummy stew while I wait for my girl to get home from college tonight!
I probably should have gotten a shot of all of the ingredients corralled up – but I didn’t even think of doing that until now – so – yeah, didn’t happen! 🙂
Let me just start by saying this: use a big stockpot. At least 8 quart. Really. I hate it when I start making soup in a pot that’s too small and then I’ve got to transfer everything into a bigger pot and it’s such a hassle. So – got it? Make sure the pot is big enough. And you should know: this makes enough for dinner for the family with some leftovers to boot. If you don’t want that much: cut the quantities in half!
All that being said – I thinly slice ribbons of sweet onion, and then sauté them in a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
Next, add some sliced celery. I like celery – a lot – and believe in using as much of the leaves as possible. If that bugs you, then adjust accordingly.
Now add in the ground beef, making sure to break it up until it’s a pretty fine consistency as it browns.
You might think this is a little bit wacky – but believe me, it’s fabulous. You’ll thank me later for this next step.
Add taco seasoning mix, ranch dressing mix to the meat mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.
Doesn’t it smell amazing?!
(Normally I wouldn’t be semi-brain dead and gotten the order of adding things in mixed up – not that it’s the end of the world or anything – but if you print out the recipe and then compare my photos – you’ll note a bit of a disparity in the order of stuff. Sorry – I’m tired!)
Now add in the minced garlic, making certain to keep it from scorching.
Next I added the carrots. I want them to get a bit of a brown before going on to the next thing…
As you may recall, we can our own beans here. Love ’em. Will never go back to the store bought variety. SO much better. This would be a great opportunity to use a jar of mixed beans, or use smaller jars of a variety of beans. But – if you’re feeling kinda lazy (like I am today), then just pick a variety you like and throw them in. This time I used red beans.
A little note about one of the ingredients here. I’m allergic to bell peppers. Don’t know why – but they blister the heck out of my mouth. BUT… I can handle fire roasted canned peppers – go figure! And not only can I handle, I kinda love ’em! I particularly love the red and yellow mixed variety. What’s not to love?
Once most of the moisture in the bottom of the pan has been absorbed/cooked off, add diced tomatoes and the rough chopped fire roasted peppers. Use the juice from the tomatoes to deglaze the pan, making sure to loosen up any bits that have adhered to the bottom of the pan.
I use home-canned chicken stock and typically a quart of it is gonna do you. But every now and then I like this a bit thinner and will add a bit more. And – I can’t extol the virtues of tomato juice enough. It’s GREAT for stuff like this, or pasta casseroles, etc. You’ve got some in your pantry, right?
Add chicken stock and about half of the can of tomato juice, stirring to make certain everything is well incorporated and nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan
Another ingredient I have a little love affair going on with here:
You may not know it – but you need this stuff. Yes, it’s worth the work to find it. Just get it, you’ll thank me later.
Add in chipotle chili powder and chili powder, adding more or less to your preference.
Turn heat to medium-low and add in corn, zucchini, and rice. Make sure to stir the rice in thoroughly. Allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, taking care to scrape the bottom to prevent the rice from sticking and scorching.
Now – all you need to do is eat some of this fabulousness.
Hurry up and get home, Jessica! Soup’s on!