Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fiesta Beef Soup

It’s been another interesting week with more bed rest and doctor’s recommendations to take it easy, so we dined on more restaurant fare than usual, along with plenty of leftovers. (Did I say the pureed potato-leek soup made four servings? Yeah, I meant 22.)

And for the past few days, I’ve had the strangest craving.

I went to a small, private college that required first- and second-year students to live on campus, and to have a meal plan at the campus cafeteria. Being the po’ college kids that we were, we ate there most of the time, because it was free. (I’m sure this was built into my tuition somehow, so I’ve probably been paying for that meal plan for the past eight years and will be for two more.) Anyway, the cafeteria there made this really awesome kind of soup. It wasn’t quite chili, it wasn’t quite taco soup, but it was somewhere in the middle and had no beans. I don’t even remember what it was called. But I LOVED it.

Strangely Good Soup Day was the only day when I didn’t fill myself full of Lucky Charms.

And oh my, I just realized how much I overpaid to eat Lucky Charms three times a day for two years.

But back to the soup. I had no concept of cooking back in college, so I had no idea what was in this soup. All I know is that I was really hungry for it this week. So this is my attempt to re-create it, cooking both on the fly and with a shortage of some key ingredients.

And it tasted heavenly, it did.

You can certainly add a can of beans to give the soup a bit more substance. Or any other veggies that you care for. You could also reduce the amount of hamburger; not surprisingly, mine was more generous with the beef than the cafeteria version I remember.

But I was just hungry for the basic beef soup, with some cheese and tortilla chips. And I think I’ll tinker with this a bit and turn it into a yummy beef enchilada sauce at some point. Olé!

Fiesta Beef Soup
Serves 4

1 lb. lean hamburger
¼ c. minced onion
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt
2-3 c. beef broth (I ran low, so I used 2 c. beef broth, and a few beef buillion cubes)
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin or taco seasoning (I used 1 tsp. of each because I ran out of cumin)
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Assorted toppings, such as cheese, tortilla chips, crackers, onion, olives, sour cream, etc.

1. Brown hamburger and onion over medium-high heat, seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic salt.

I apologize for the lack of photos. They were inadvertently deleted from the camera. By someone who lives in this house. And who isn’t me. But I’m not one to point fingers.

2. Add the broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings.

3. Bring to a boil, and then simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.Serve with your choice of toppings.

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