Folks, this is a most wonderful, well developed and flavorful soup, if I may say so myself. I made it this weekend as I began to recover from a nasty cold and tired of having chicken base soups, which I do love, I hankered for a little more flavor. This one did more than I expected.
I've noticed in the past many Taco Soups using a package of dry ranch seasoning salad dressing but I cannot recall ever making such. Instead, I like the limey, tart tomatillos to replicate what I expect would be an unexpected flavor brought on by the packaged seasonings. By roasting the tomatillos over an open flame, the flesh remains firm while the green skin chars nicely. I think the oven produces a mushy mess and does not char the skin on tomatillos that much. The tomatoes need to roast just enough to make it easy to remove the peel becoming 'stewed-like' while the onions and peppers stay in longer to blacken a bit. This process using fresh ingredients brings out such a richness and depth that that is so worth the little effort.
For the meatballs, I based the recipe on how I do it when making my Sopa de Albondigas and pre-soaking the rice helps speed the cooking time. I like the medium grain white rice here and as noted in my last recipe, it's qualities are best suited for cooking into foods such as this. And because I like Chorizo flavor, I added it to the beef and cooked the meatballs in the oven, unlike most Sopa de Albondigas recipes, to remove its fat.
The broth comes together quickly as the remaining ingredients are pretty much staple cupboard and pantry items and it is the roasted veggies that brings everything together. I like the greenness of the spinach, sorta like lettuce in a taco I guess. So, here is a quick-step listing from my notes on how I made this one, it is one I will repeat many times. Hope you do too. Enjoy
Roasted Vegetable Taco Soup with Meatballs
about 10 servings
Roast over open flame:
Roast in broiling oven:
3 roma tomatoes
1 large white onion, quartered
1 red bell pepper, halved
-remove and chop
1/2 cup medium grain white rice
1/2 cup boiling water
-in a bowl and let set for 30 mins, then squeeze dry
Heat in stockpot:
2 tablespoons olive oil
Saute in stockpot over medium high heat:
1 medium onion, diced
2 large garlic toes, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
-remove and let cool
Combine in a large bowl:
1 pound ground lean beef
1 pound chorizo, casing removed
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 /2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
the sautéed vegetables
the soaked (and patted dry) rice
-together and form into 1/2 to 3/4-inch balls; place on baking pans and bake 15-20 at 350 degrees F or until brown; drain on paper towels
Add to the stockpot:
2 carrots, diced
1 large zucchini, diced
2 cups frozen shoepeg corn
1 -15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 -16 oz can red or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Recipe for my Taco Seasoning Mix or 1 -1.35 oz package Taco Seasoning
1 -8 oz can tomato sauce
2 quarts chicken stock
1 quart beef stock
-bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
-Add the meatballs a few at a time until incorporated.
-Allow to come to a second simmer and cook on low 20 minutes.
3 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and drained
-Stir and simmer about 10 minutes
-Serve with a good sprinkle of cheese, tortilla strips or fritos, pico de gallo and sour cream if desired.
Note: Read the post above for a further explanation of the 'how and why' of preparing this soup.