Thursday, 26 June 2014

Recipe: Slow Cooker Taco Soup

We used our slow cooker a lot when we were students, but we've not had the opportunity to put it to such good use since moving to Edinburgh. A slow cooker is great for feeding a crowd or preparing freezer meals, but since we just have a tiny ice box in our current flat, we have limited space for freezing leftovers. Still, this is one of our favourite comfort meals to make in the slow cooker, and it's relatively easy to throw together, even if the ingredient list does look pretty extensive.

You can adjust this recipe to suit your taste--it works well as a vegetarian meal if you remove the mince and add more beans or corn, and if you find it difficult to get hold of pinto beans, haricot or cannellini make a good substitute. This isn't a very spicy meal, but you can skip the chillies and some of the spices if you really can't handle the heat.

Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking.

Serves: 4
Prep. Time: 15 minutes 
Cook Time: 3-5 hours on High, or 6-7 on Low

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 bird's eye chillies, finely chopped
500g of minced beef
1/2 tsp of paprika
1 1/2 tsps of cumin, ground
1/4 tsp of chilli flakes
2 tsps of dried chives
1/4 tsp of dried oregano
1/4 tsp of dried dill
1 tsp of celery seed
1 tsp of dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (410g) cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (300g) cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups of precooked pinto beans)
2 (400g) cans of chopped tomatoes
1 (326g) can of sweetcorn
1 can of cold water
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of lime juice

For Serving
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips
Fresh coriander

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. Add the beans, tomatoes and corn to the slow cooker. Fill one of the tomato or kidney bean cans with cold tap water and add to mixture. Add balsamic vinegar and lime juice.
4. Stir contents of slow cooker until mixed through evenly and cook for 3-5 hours on High or 6-7 on Low.
5. Serve topped with grated mozzarella cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tortilla chips and fresh coriander.

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