This taco soup recipe delivers a beautiful display of color and flavor. It features two types of corn: white kernels of delicious hominy and golden kernels of sweet corn. Plus, it has black beans, diced red tomatoes, and pink pinto beans. With or without the corn chips and other toppings, this soup is a winner. But they sure give it the perfect finishing touch!
Cumin, an ingredient in this recipe, is the dried seed of a small member of the parsley family and is one of the most commonly used spices in the world. It has been in use since at least the second millennium B.C.E. (1001-2000 B.C.E.), and was mentioned in the Bible as being a seasoning for soup and bread.
In ages past, cumin was considered to be a symbol of love and fidelity. It was customary to carry cumin seeds in one's pocket during a wedding ceremony and to send married soldiers into service with a loaf of cumin bread.
Cumin not only pleases the palate with a complex peppery flavor, its powerful antioxidants provide the body with an array of medicinal benefits. These properties are said to protect against cancer, aid digestion, boost the immune system - and more.
And although cumin graces cuisines around the globe, we may be most familiar with it as an important ingredient in chili powder and curry. So as you enjoy the pleasing flavor of cumin in this taco soup recipe, know that it not only has been a symbol of love and fidelity, but it is also good for your body.
(Adapted from Taste of Home Soups: Hominy Taco Chili)
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 envelopes taco seasoning mix
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (15 oz. each)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (15 oz.)
2 cans hominy, drained (25 oz. each)
1 can whole kernel yellow corn, drained (15.25 oz.)
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained (14.5 oz. each)
1 can chopped green chilies (4.5 oz.)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dollops of sour cream
shredded Cheddar cheese
sliced black olives
1. Cook: In a 6 quart Dutch oven, cook the meat, salt, onion, and garlic over medium heat until all pink is gone; drain.
2. Add: Stir in the water and envelopes of taco and ranch mix.
3. Drain and Rinse: Holding or positioning a strainer over the sink, pour in the black beans and allow the canning liquid to drain off. Rinse the beans with running water. Let excess water pass through, then add beans to the Dutch oven.
4. Drain and rinse the pinto beans in the same manner.
5. Add: Add hominy to the Dutch oven after draining off extra liquid. (Not all brands of hominy contain enough liquid to bother with draining.)
6. Add: Add drained whole kernel yellow corn.
7. Add: Stir in diced tomatoes, green chilies, cumin, and black pepper.
8. Simmer: Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Stir occasionally.
9. Garnish: Ladle soup into bowls and top with sour cream, corn chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and black olives.
Hominy is dense, chewy, and delicious. It was originated by Native Americans as a way to make their varieties of hard flint corn softer for grinding.
Hominy is made by cooking whole kernels of corn in a solution of lime or lye - a process known today as nixtamalization. The thick and tough outer hull of corn is softened and partly detached from the kernel by this pretreatment. The hulls are then easy to rub off and wash away through thorough rinsing.
Native Americans relied on corn (maize, as they called it) as a dietary staple. But when the early American settlers added corn to their diets in a similar quantity, they suffered nutrient deficiency caused diseases. What was different? Why weren’t they, too, thriving when consuming the same grain?
The answer: the alkali bath the indigenous Americans used to pretreat their corn released important nutrients which the body couldn’t absorb from the raw, untreated grain. Thus, not only was the treated corn more flavorful and easier to grind, it was also more nutritionally beneficial.
As a result of this alkaline processing, a grain nutritionally inadequate as a staple was transformed into hominy and became a nutritional building block for cultures of ancient America. This Two-Corn Taco Soup Recipe just wouldn't taste the same without the wonderful taste and texture of hominy!
How wonderful to flavor our soup with a spice used by generations for over 4000 years. And how blessed that a food credited with prospering an ancient culture can be a delicious ingredient in a soup we make today. It is both empowering and comforting to consider the many ways in which the lives of past generations are still linked with ours.
Like the calm of glowing embers, bask in the comfort of these soups...
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