Spooktacular Tortilla Soup

Halloween is almost here, and I am nostalgic for those of our not too distant past.  It really wasn’t that long ago when my children eagerly anticipated dressing up and heading out with their dearest friends to gather big bags of sugary treats, while I looked forward to my friend K’s neighborhood pre-trick-or-treating party.  After squirmily posing for the annual Halloween picture, the costumed kiddies would grab hot dogs, pbj’s and carrot sticks to sustain them on their journey into candyland.  Meanwhile, the parents relished their own treat:  K’s Spooktacular Tortilla Soup.

     My dreams have more than once revolved around this soup.  For several years, I craved this annual offering from K’s bountiful kitchen, assuming that I could never replicate it myself.  Then K published this recipe in Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church’s Cooking with Grace (2005), and my yearnings need never go unsatisfied again.

2 pounds ground meat of choice
1 package taco seasoning
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 (14 ½ ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 cans diced Mexican-style tomatoes
1(10½ ounce) can chicken broth
1 (10½ ounce) can beef broth
2 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn
2(15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1(10 ½ ounce) can tomato soup
2½ cups water
3 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 minced garlic clove
2 teaspoons chili powder
Splash hot pepper sauce
1 pound grated Cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips
Sour Cream
Chopped avocado

Brown ground meat in a skillet and drain, then cook with taco seasoning according to package directions.

In a large soup pot, combine the next group of ingredients through the hot pepper sauce.  Add ground meat and cook for 1½ hours at medium heat, partially covered and stirring occasionally.  Serve with chips and cheese.  Garnish with sour cream and chopped avocado, if desired.  Freezes well.

Serves 20.

     Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you.  This soup is easy to make and tastes even better if cooked a day in advance and reheated before serving.  It is perfect for tailgates served in a large styrofoam cup.  Just add a bag of Tortilla scoops, and your diners will hardly need a spoon.  Any leftovers can be frozen in ziploc freezer bags and pulled out when you are short on time for dinner.  Trust me, your family will thank you.

      As the upcoming weekend will be filled with exciting football games plus Halloween preparations, this is the perfect time to pull out the big soup pot and whip up this fall-tastic tortilla soup.  No trick – it’s the perfect treat for everyone.

All photos by Avad Fan.


3 Comments on “Spooktacular Tortilla Soup”

  1. Ellen Buoyer says:

    Frightfully yummy!

  2. Aunt Sue says:

    Looks like a great soup to make and share with friends. It would have been a delicious addition to last weekend’s busy foodfest including a TGIF party and then a potluck on Saturday. I’ll just hve to round up our friends for a “Halloween Soup-Fest”. Any reason for a party is good enough reason! Thanks Alison. xxoo Aunt Sue

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