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Growing up, my mom and all the other ladies in our town made Taco Soup. It was one of those recipes that women shared with each other because it was easy and easy to remember in the days before Pinterest and text messaging.
A can of this, a can of that.
This soup recipe is similar to the familiar Texas classic Taco soup, but with a twist. The hominy makes it different. . .and wildly popular.
Everyone loves this. I get asked to make it all the time.
But I didn’t get this recipe from a friend or relative. I found it in the most unlikely of places. . .
This is the story of a recipe. A recipe that came to me of its own accord through a series of unknown events.
When I was a junior in college, I lived in an apartment with three other girls. There’s nothing like sharing a home with your best friends! We don’t talk frequently anymore, but they still feel like family in my heart.
When the year was over, it was time to move out. The three other girls left first, and I was the last to pack up and shut the doors. My husband and I were engaged at the time. I remember him helping me load up all my belongings into my little white Chevy. Once everything was squished in and the trunk slammed, it was time to leave. I looked at him and paused, not sure if I had done everything I should.
I know I hesitated for more than practical reasons. Closing the door to that apartment was closing the door on a chapter of my life that I loved. See, in our university, students are required to live in the dorms (or their parents’ home) for the first two years. My junior year in an apartment (even though it was on campus, too) was basically the start of my adulthood. Here, for just 9 brief months, was my single-woman life, and it was ending. I was so happy to be getting married, but happiness for the future doesn’t take away happiness from the past.
Before I drove off, I thought, “I’ll check all the closets and cabinets and under the furniture just to make sure no one has left anything.” Being responsible and all.
Nothing was in the closets or bathroom cabinets. Then, deep in the back of one of the kitchen cabinets, I saw a greasy, folded paper.
On the outside, someone had scrawled, “2 hamburgers, 1-mayo, 1 B.Buster, 1 Chicken strip bascket.” (sic)
Those of you from the South will immediately recognize that as a Dairy Queen order albeit poorly spelled. Also written were some random math problems, a note “megan called” and the spiral markings of someone trying to get a ball-point pen started.
I didn’t remember any of us having a friend called “Megan”.
I opened it up:
Mexican Soup by Charlee
To this day, I have wondered who Charlee is and why he (she?) spells the name so unusually.
I read through the ingredients and thought, “this sounds good! I’d like to try this.”
I contacted my suite sisters and asked if it belonged to any of them. This was in the days before texting, so I’m not really sure how I did that. Did I call all three of them? Email? I don’t know, but I never found the owner of this piece of paper.
So I kept it.
And I cooked it. (The recipe, not the paper.)
Like a cross between the traditional Taco Soup of Texan housewives and Mexican Posole, this soup sets itself apart by being just slightly different. The familiar ground beef combines with the bold texture of hominy for a comforting and hearty bowl.
Though the story of its origin remains a mystery, it has been adopted into my family as one of our own.
When the temperature and the leaves start to drop, my crock-pot readies itself for these ingredients:
2 lb ground beef (browned with the following two things)
1 can green chiles
Dumped together with:
1 can Pinto beans
1 can Kidney beans
1 can hominy
1 can tomatoes (use Rotel for extra kick)
1 package of taco seasoning
Sometimes I make my own taco seasoning
1 package ranch dressing mix
A day may come when I make my own ranch dressing mix, but it is not this day.
Mix it all together and add 1 1/2 cups of water and let it simmer for 1/2 hour on the stove or a few hours in the crock pot.
The More Fun Way
Well, you know how I feel about recipes and specifics. If it’s not baking, measurements are not required to be precise.
Over the years, I have made this recipe “from memory” and gotten my wires crossed with my Texan Taco Soup which uses slightly different ratios:
1 lb ground beef
2 cans each of the beans, hominy and tomatoes
Honestly, it’s not going to ruin it if you do that. That’s what I did the other night. It will make the meat stretch farther.
I think the perfect ratio, for me, is one pound of beef and one can of each thing.
Make It Yours!
The recipe has made it into your hands, without grease stains and DQ orders, but through serendipitous events nonetheless, so it’s yours to alter and adjust to your liking.
And send your thanks to Charlee.
Crock Pots and full bellies,
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion
- 1 small can green chiles
- 1 can pinto beans (do not drain)
- 1 can kidney beans (do not drain)
- 1 can hominy (do not drain)
- 1 can tomatoes or Rotel (do not drain)
- 1 pkg taco seasoning
- 1 pkg ranch seasoning
- Brown ground beef, choppen onion, and green chiles. Combine in stock pot or crock pot with the remaining ingredients. Simmer on the stove for 30 minutes or in slow cooker/crock pot for a few hours.
- Serve with cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream.