Taco Soup with Charred Corn & Peppers

 
If you love tacos, we highly suspect you will enjoy this taco soup. Taco soup is all about combining the classic flavors and ingredients of tacos, into a winter warming bowl of goodness that nourishes the taco loving soul.

And it doesn’t stop there. Taco soup can be ready in under half an hour. Which makes it such a great candidate for weeknight dinners ideas. It is a really easy and simple soup to make, and this particular taco soup thickens up beautifully without any effort. Have you ever tried your hand at a soup, excited to taste the finished dish, only to find that it has a watery consistency and lacks in flavor? Not this taco soup! It is off the charts in flavor, and has a lovely unctuous texture which happens all by itself.

A lot of taco soup recipes call for all canned ingredients. This is super convenient, but it can make it harder to get the flavors up to where you want them. Which is why for this recipe we use fresh corn, and fresh peppers.

To take things up another notch, the corn and peppers are briefly charred under the broiler. This gives the taco soup that smokey, mexican, street food flavor that is so common and loved in tacos. While this will take longer than simply opening up a can of corn, the extra (5) minutes this takes will pay back in a big yield of flavor.

If you have a kitchen blow torch you can also opt to use that for charring the vegetables. However if you lack that cheffy tool, the broiler does the job. If you do not have a broiler, then you can decide whether you want to simply add the peppers and corn into the soup raw and uncharred, or if you have time to roast them to get a charr going, before making the soup.

Roasting the peppers and corn will take quite a bit longer, but this is not active cooking time. So if you have 15-20 minutes, you can always pop them into the oven while you do other things, and once they are done, start on the soup.

Besides charring the peppers and corn, all you need to do is brown 400 grams of ground beef, add in all other ingredients, and set the pot to simmer for 15 minutes. Finito!

Another quick thing regarding flavor, the ingredients call for beef stock to be used as the soup liquid. This is key to getting a really deep savory flavor. You can use water if in a bind, but beef stock makes the soup so good, that is worth postponing making recipe until you have the stock.

This taco soup contains a fair amount of chili, so if you are chili sensitive, do not be afraid to dial it down if you feel that this is necessary. Thanks to the stock and charred corn and sweet peppers, you should still have a super flavorsome soup on your hands.

As far as sides and serving suggestions go, taco soup is pretty filling, so one does not need too much to go along with it. However! Tortilla chips make a really fun and tasty side, and you can even use them to scoop up the soup. And of course, adding tortillas to the meal is a great way to reel kids, and adult kids, in to the meal – if the word ‘taco’ hasn’t attracted them already of course. Fresh tortillas also can make a nice carb side, or even fresh bread.

You will see that the taco seasonings are listed as individual ingredients. If you have a taco spice mix that you love, and want to substitute this in, feel free too, it will probably turn out great. To substitute, omit the spices and use approximately 5 teaspoons of your fave taco spice mix. However, we will say this. If you are not 100% behind your taco mix, you can’t go wrong with the flavor blend in this recipe. It is off the hook!

Taco Soup w/ Charred Corn & Peppers

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 2
    cobs fresh corn
  • 1
    red sweet pepper
  • 1
    green sweet pepper
  • 1-2
    jalapeno peppers
    reserving one or a portion of one for garnish
  • Sunflower seed oil for frying
  • 400
    grams
    ground beef
  • 2
    cans diced tomatoes in puree
  • 2
    cans red beans
  • 1
    can sugar beans
  • 2
    cups
    beef broth
  • 3
    teaspoons
    garlic powder
  • 3
    teaspoons
    paprika
  • 1
    teaspoon
    ground cumin
  • 1
    teaspoon
    chili powder
  • 1
    teaspoon
    chili flakes
  • 2
    teaspoons
    dried oregano
  • Salt to taste +- 1 ½ teaspoons
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Sour cream
    to garnish you can also substitute for yoghurt or cheese
  • 1
    avocado
    to garnish the avocado on top really makes the dish – be sure not to leave it out
  • Tortilla chips
    optional

Instructions

  1. Assemble all of your ingredients. Open up the canned beans and tomato, and drain the liquid off of the beans. This liquid can be added to the soup, however it will dilute the flavor of the stock, which is why it is best to discard it.
  2. First up, grab a chopping board and a knife and chop the green and red peppers into medium sized cubes. Slice the corn off of the cobs and de-seed and finely chop the jalapeno peppers.
  3. Now spread the chopped corn, sweet peppers and jalapeno on a baking sheet. Drizzle them lightly with oil and place the sheet tray under a broiler. Turn the broiler flame up to high, and allow the peppers and corn to develop a slight char on their edges. You may have to move the tray from side to side to get an even charring. Halfway through, toss the peppers and corn with a spatula, and place back under the broiler to finish charring on the sides which have not been exposed to the flame. This should take approximately 5 minutes. You will want to keep an eagle eye on this process, as the peppers and corn must not get overly charred. Too much charing will cause burning, and this can make the whole soup taste burnt. There is no way to isolate an unwanted or too strong flavor in a soup, so make sure that the peppers and corn do not blacken. You just want an even touch of charring to flavor the soup. Once the peppers and corn are done, set aside.
  4. Place a large pot into the stove. Add in a glug of sunflower seed oil, enough to cover the base of the pot. Bring the pot up to heat, and add in the ground beef. Fry the ground beef until it is slightly browned.
  5. Once the ground beef is lightly browned, add in all of the spices (garlic powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, oregano), canned tomatoes, canned beans, and the 2 cups beef stock. Stir to combine, bring the pot up to heat and season with salt (approximately 1 ½ teaspoons) and black pepper (approximately ½ teaspoon). Set the lid onto the pot and simmer for roughly 12 minutes. If you are in a rush, you can reduce this to 8, as all of the ingredients in the pot are already cooked. You just want the flavors to blend together and for the compounds in the spices to release.
  6. After about 12 minutes, add in the charred peppers and corn and stir to combine. Allow the pot to simmer for a further couple minutes, to allow the peppers and corn to soften, and for the charred flavor notes to filter through the soup.
  7. To serve, slice up a ripe avocado, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the freshly sliced avocado, a generous tablespoon of sour cream, and some chopped jalapenos (optional). Serve with a large bowl of tortilla chips or fresh tortillas.

Notes: This taco soup is spicy, thanks to the jalapenos, chilli and garlic. If you are sensitive to chili, reduce or omit the chili powder and flakes, and reduce the jalapeno quantity, but keep the garlic powder as this adds a lot of flavor. Taco soup is one of those dishes that tastes great the day after, and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the soup and reheat at a later date. We served our taco soup with tortilla chips, but fresh tortillas would also be a great side, and for a reduced carb meal simply omit all starchy sides.

STEP ONE – ASSEMBLE ALL INGREDIENTS


Assemble all of your ingredients. Open up the canned beans and tomato, and drain the liquid off of the beans. This liquid can be added to the soup, however it will dilute the flavor of the stock, which is why it is best to discard it.

STEP TWO – CHOP THE PEPPERS AND SLICE THE CORN OFF OF THE COBS


First up, grab a chopping board and a knife and chop the green and red pepper into medium sized cubes. Slice the corn off of the cobs and de-seed and finely chop the jalapeno peppers.

STEP THREE – CHARR THE PEPPERS AND CORN UNDER THE BROILER


Now spread the chopped corn, sweet peppers and jalapenos on a baking sheet. Drizzle them lightly with oil and place the sheet tray under a broiler. Turn the broiler flame up to high, and allow the peppers and corn to develop a slight char on their edges. You may have to move the tray from side to side to get an even charring. Halfway through, toss the peppers and corn with a spatula, and place back under the broiler to finish charring on the sides which have not been exposed to the flame. This should take approximately 5 minutes. You will want to keep an eagle eye on this process, as the peppers and corn must not get overly charred. Too much charing will cause burning, and this can make the whole soup taste burnt. There is no way to isolate an unwanted or too strong flavor in a soup, so make sure that the peppers and corn do not blacken. You just want an even touch of charring to flavor the soup. Once the peppers and corn are done, set aside.

STEP FOUR – BROWN THE GROUND BEEF


Place a large pot into the stove. Add in a glug of sunflower seed oil, enough to cover the base of the pot. Bring the pot up to heat, and add in the ground beef. Fry the ground beef until it is slightly browned.

STEP FIVE – ADD THE SPICES, CANNED BEANS, CANNED TOMATO IN PUREE, AND BEEF STOCK


Once the ground beef is lightly browned, add in all of the spices (garlic powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, oregano), canned tomatoes, canned beans, and the 2 cups beef stock. Stir to combine, bring the pot up to heat and season with salt (approximately 1 ½ teaspoons) and black pepper (approximately ½ teaspoon). Set the lid onto the pot and simmer for roughly 12 minutes. If you are in a rush, you can reduce this to 8, as all of the ingredients in the pot are already cooked. You just want the flavors to blend together and for the compounds in the spices to release.

STEP SIX – ADD THE CHARRED PEPPERS AND CORN

After about 12 minutes, add in the charred peppers and corn and stir to combine. Allow the pot to simmer for a further couple minutes, to allow the peppers and corn to soften, and for the charred flavor notes to filter through the soup.

STEP SEVEN – SERVE TOPPED WITH AVOCADO, SOUR CREAM & CHOPPED JALAPENO (OPTIONAL)

To serve, slice up a ripe avocado, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the freshly sliced avocado, a generous tablespoon of sour cream, and some chopped jalapenos. Serve with a large bowl of tortilla chips or fresh tortillas.

Taco soup is one of those dishes that just ticks all of the boxes. It is hearty, filling, flavorful, nutritious… and takes only 30 minutes to make, even if using some fresh ingredients! And if you want to economize even further on time, one can make a double batch, and freeze half for an instant meal later in the week. What is not to like – that is definitely perfection on a soup spoon. Oh, and let’s not forget, taco soup gives you a great excuse to enjoy a few tortilla chips.

With its hearty heat, taco soup is an ideal dish to make in winter months. The chili and jalapeno will get your blood flowing, and your metabolism up, and warm one from the inside out. But, while taco soup may be a winter winner, you may also find yourself making this one into summer, as it is too good of a meal to shelve for a whole half year!

Do you make taco soup? And if so when is your favorite time to eat it, and what toppings do you love? Let us know in the comments!

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