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04/17/2019

~ An All-Purpose Mexican-Style Soup or Soup Base ~

IMG_0788 2My kitchen is no different than anyone elses.  The cuisine we're in the mood changes from day to day -- Asian, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Jamaican or Texican (to name a few of our favorites). For the past few days, we've been hungry for Tex-Mex, and, like all of our other favorites, having an all-purpose marinade, a seasoning blend or two, along with a sauce for dipping or drizzling, suited specifically to this South-of-the-border flavor profile, makes meal prep easy, not to mention creative and fun.  Trust me, any way you cook it, every dish prepared in the home kitchen doesn't have to be authentic, classic, or traditional.  It just has to look and taste great.

To make my all-purpose Mexican-style soup or soup base:

IMG_06522  tablespoons achiote vegetable oil, or any plain (clear) ordinary vegetable oil

1  tablespoon fajita seasoning, homemade or store-bought (Note:  Fajita seasoning is the perfect all-purpose seasoning blend for this all-purpose Mexican-soup or soup base.  After all, its purpose is to season beef or chicken and all the yummy vegetables that typically season fajitas -- the all same ingredients included in this recipe.)

1  1/2 -2  cups diced yellow or sweet onion

2  large cloves garlic, run through a press

1 1/2-2  cups peeled and sliced or diced carrots

1  cup diced celery

2  quarts chicken stock

1  quart beef stock

1  14 1/2-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2-3/4-ounce bouquet garni of cilantro

1/2-1  teaspoon sea salt, to taste (optional) (Note:  Depending on the amount of salt in the fajita seasoning, which varies from recipe to recipe and manufacturer to manufacturer, it may or may not be necessary to add additional salt to the soup stock.)

IMG_0656 IMG_0656 IMG_0656~ Step 1.  In a wide-bottomed 8-quart stockpot over low heat, stir together the achiote oil and fajita seasoning.  Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery.  Give the mixture a stir, to thoroughly coat the vegetables in the seasoned oil, increase/adjust heat to sauté and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly with a large spoon, until onions are softening, without showing signs of browning.

IMG_0666 IMG_0666 IMG_0666 IMG_0666~Step 2.  Add the chicken stock, beef stock, fire-roasted tomatoes, and cilantro.  Adjust heat to a gentle but steady simmer and cook until carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.  Turn the heat off, cover the pot and allow to steep for 1-2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.  Overnight is best.

A tasty foil for many a Mexican-style soup meal. 

IMG_0763Add another veggie or two (we like black beans and corn)...

IMG_0769... perhaps some cooked & shredded chicken or beef too...

IMG_0771... & maybe some deep-fried corn tortilla wisps for garnish:

IMG_0779Try my Sopa de Albóndigas (Mexican-Style Meatball Soup):

IMG_0734An All-Purpose Mexican-Style Soup or Soup Base:  Recipe yields 4 quarts soup/soup base.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; garlic press; vegetable peeler; kitchen-safe twine; 8-quart wide-bottomed stock pot w/lid; soup ladle

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c807903f970bCook's Note:  When I use my crockpot, it's not because I have no time to cook, it's because what I'm letting it cook for me, without compromise, is really good.  It's no secret, I've never been a crockpot kinda gal, but, over the past few years I've mellowed.  For one of our family's favorite Tex-Mex-style soups, try ~ Easy-Does-It: Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup ~.  Using pantry staples, this recipe takes almost no time to put in the crock and tastes reminiscent of a tasty trip South of the border.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)

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