I was once making normal vegetable soup but decided to add a little salsa, Rotel, and cumin, which dramatically altered the flavor to make it quite similar to Chili’s old southwest vegetable soup (which as been discontinued). I also served it with Mexican cheese and crushed tortilla chips a la Chili’s. I’m writing it down because I don’t want to forget this. Most of the proportions below are rough quantities and can vary considerably without changing the flavor. The only things that need to be precise are the broth, pasta sauce and cumin. Slowly add the cumin until its flavor becomes noticeable and stop. Adding too much will overpower all the other flavors.
6 cups beef broth (or 6 cups water and 6 beef bouillon cubes)
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and jalepenos), drained
2 cups traditional pasta sauce
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (parsley does a decent job too)
1 tablespoon cumin
3 large carrots, chopped
3 large sticks of celery, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of chopped baby Portabella mushrooms
½ cup whole kernel corn
cup cut green beans
½ cup black beans
½ cup chickpeas
1 bag shredded Mexican blend cheese
An ample amount of pico de gallo or fresh (not canned) salsa
1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips
(1) In a large stockpot, combine all the above ingredients except for the black beans, chickpeas, cheese, salsa and tortilla chips.
(2) Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for at least two hours.
(3) Add black beans and chick peas after the heat has gone down following the boiling.
(4) Serve topped with cheese, crushed tortilla chips and a spoonful of pico de gallo or salsa. Make sure the cheese is on the bottom of this little pile.