Soup for the Soul
Soup is the best. I could eat soup EVERY DAY...many days I do. It could be 110 degrees in Houston and I will still grab soup and eat it.
Some of my favorite soups are the "hodge-podge" soups like taco soup, tortilla soup, vegetable soup, etc. These are the soups where you can take whatever is in your pantry and toss it in a pot. Every time I make tortilla soup, people ask me for the recipe and I have to think about how I made it each time.
This week, on my Fork You podcast, we discuss soup as a comfort food. My main comfort food is probably macaroni and cheese, but soup is a close second. (For more information on my strong love for mac and cheese, see the August 31 episode of Fork You and you can hear all about it! LOL) But for real, soup. It can be anything you want it to be. You want a creamy soup, get you some. Want a healthy bone broth based soup? Done. Literally everything you want, you can have. It's the daydream of food.
Today I made a variation of taco soup. It's healthy, it's hearty, it's easy. What did I use?
I chose Chicken Bone Broth as my base instead of a basic broth or stock. Why? Because bone broth is super high in protein, helps with gut health, boosts your immune system and can even reduce cellulite. Bone broth is best since it is made with the bones of the animals making the broth. This means all the marrow nutrients, amino acids, collagen, etc. from the animals becomes a part of the broth you will be intaking. For some good information on bone broth benefits, check out this article or Google it and research it for yourself. I will say, it has a far richer taste to it, so be prepared for that if you are using it in a recipe that is not as strong as a taco soup; i.e. chicken noodle soup.
I added cooked ground turkey meat to the bone broth after it was finished. Why ground turkey, is it healthier than ground beef? Honestly, from what I have researched about it, it mainly depends on what the fat content of the meat is. For instance, if you use an 85/15 ground turkey, that is not as healthy as an 90/10 ground beef.
So what does 90/10 mean? The first number is the percentage of lean used and the second number is the percentage of fat used. In the case of a 90/10 that means only 10% fat is used and 90% is lean; that is why it is healthier than an 85/15 split. Of course, this is all relative to you and how you feel about your lean to fat intake, of course. For me personally, I vary my lean to fat intake based on what I am cooking. I am a huge carnivore and prefer the taste the fat adds to the meat, personally. When I cook for myself, I usually use 85/15 but will go leaner when cooking for others so it is a tad "healthier" for them.
For taco soup, you would think I would use ground beef over turkey, right? To me, ground turkey is blander and that is actually why I chose it. With all the other ingredients, I did not want to have the meat overpower the soup, so I stayed calm with it and focused on using it for the protein and texture addition. Interested in learning more about which one is better for you, ground turkey or ground beef? Check this article out!
While cooking the ground turkey, I added in diced garlic and yellow onion to get them browned and take the juices out of them for the soup. Once all three items (turkey, onions & garlic) were drained, I tossed them into the bone broth, as mentioned above.
What is the difference between the onions anyway? You have probably noticed different onions being called for in different recipes. There is a reason for that. Just like all meats are not the same, neither are all onions! Yellow onions tend to be the general go-to for cooking; these onions are more on the sweet side and get sweeter the longer they cook. White onions are stronger in flavor and not sweet at all. Sweet onions are exactly as they sound; sweet. Red onions are similar to the yellow onion taste, but are lighter in texture so they tend to be used more in lighter options like salads. Green onions (also called Scallions) are lighter in flavor but full of crunch and texture; are used more like a garnish than a flavor enhancer. Shallots (yes they are an onion) are kind of in-between yellow and red onions flavor wise. This is a great article that shows you what onions are all like, used for, etc. including pictures and onions I have not ever used before. So check it out if you want to bulk up your onion knowledge.
Next I added in the rest of the flavor! Corn, black and pinto beans and [mild] Rotel. I use fresh vegetables as much as possible, unless I am traveling a lot because I don't want to be wasteful, but there are a few things you should always have on hand in the pantry or freezer: corn, tomatoes, beans. When you can cook beans fresh, do it! They are amazing and certainly worth the few hours it takes to get them made. But, if you don't have a few hours to make large quantities of beans, say because you work and have things to do (hehe), keep cans of them in the pantry and you will be good to go at any moment. The same goes for corn; frozen and canned are always in my house. I tend to keep a bag of frozen corn as well as mini corn on the cobs in my freezer, as well as canned corn in the pantry. Frozen corn tastes better when not cooking it in items where it is an addition, like this soup. For instance, I would not use canned corn to accompany a steak, I would use frozen or cob. As far as Rotel goes, I mostly use that for any Latin cooking I am doing but don't have time to dice up the tomatoes and jalapeños, etc. There are usually 1-2 cans in my pantry as I only use it rarely; there is nothing that replaces the flavor of a fresh pepper in my opinion. I also keep a TON of canned tomatoes in my pantry at all times. When I only have 3 cans in there I have a minor freak out and go to CostCo to get a dozen more immediately. I know, I have issues, but I really love tomatoes and eat them a lot.
I didn't need to use spices on this as the ingredients add enough flavor on their own. After it was all in there, I let the beans cook to being really well done and not too firm any longer. Once it is all hot and bothered...JK just when it is hot and cooked *wink* I scoop it into a cowl, add a bit of shredded cheddar to the top of it and toss tortilla chips around the edge of the plate. I like playing with my food, so using the chips to scoop up the hearty soup makes me happy inside, as well as making it more taco-like.
It's a super simple soup honestly. With the bone broth, turkey meat and double portion of beans in there, it is super high in protein, low in fat and carbohydrates, is delicious and very filling.
Try out your own version and let me know what you did! I would love to see varieties and am always willing to try new things to spice up my own recipes!
The ingredients that I used and the Final Product