Thursday, 2 February 2012

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I've been intrigued with the idea of Taco Soup ever since I came across this recipe a few months back. As far as I know, this isn't a meal typically served in Britain, even in Mexican restaurants. So when I decided to start using our slow cooker more at the start of this year, I christened this adventure by attempting my very first Taco Soup. 

Stephanie O'Dea's recipe calls for packets of taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix, neither of which you can buy easily in British supermarkets, but thankfully the internet was able to tell me what spices and herbs these packets normally contain. 

To be honest, I should really have started out my slow cooking adventure with a recipe I could follow step by step, but my take on Taco Soup ended up being a massive hit. I made a slightly larger version of this (more mince and sweetcorn) for a group of friends, and a smaller one (only one can of each type of bean) for my parents and brother, as their slow cooker is much smaller than ours. 

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 - 5 hours on High, or 6 - 7 on Low

The picture above is from the time I added extra
ingredients to feed seven hungry students,
so there's an extra can of corn. Fresh
ingredients not pictured!
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 bird's eye chillies, chopped
1 (400g) pack of minced beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon celery seed
a few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
2 (410g) cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (300g) cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 (400g) cans of chopped tomatoes
1 (326g) can of sweetcorn
1 can of cold water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Preheat slow cooker. Fry the chopped garlic, onion and chillies in oil until they start to brown. Add the mince and cook until completely brown. 
2. Add mince mixture to slow cooker. Sprinkle all of the spices and herbs on top of the mince mixture, including salt and pepper.
3. Drain and rinse all of the beans using a sieve and place in the slow cooker. Add the entire contents of the tomato and corn cans. Fill one of the cans with cold tap water and add to mixture. Then add balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
4. Stir contents of slow cooker until mixed through evenly.
5. Cook for 3 - 5 hours on High or 6 - 7 on Low.
6. Serve topped with grated mozzarella cheese, sour cream, guacamole and tortilla chips. Use the tortilla chips as scoops/spoons and eat with your fingers!

Suggested Variations
- Make this veggie-friendly by not using mince and adding more beans or corn. The beans and sweetcorn make this a fairly substantial meal anyway, so the mince isn't entirely necessary.
- Substitute fresh or dried herbs wherever is easiest for you. We happen to have a parsley plant in our house so that's what we used, but dried parsley would work fine as well.
- If you're not fond of heat, reduce the amount of chillies and chilli flakes used. We're used to hot food in our house and honestly didn't think this had any heat to it, but that's just us. 
- Substitute haricot or cannellini beans if unable to find pinto beans in your local supermarket. Haricot works best as a substitute but cannellini isn't too different. The second time we made this I tried to only buy ingredients at Aldi and Tesco and neither of them stock pinto beans so I had to experiment to see what I could use instead.

— Rachel


  1. If you want some taco seasoning and ranch packets I'll happily send you some :)

  2. Haha, thanks for the offer but I now have so many jars of spices and herbs that I can probably make enough of my own mixes to last me a year! :)