Mexican Pantry Soup Recipe: The Associated Press

In their latest endeavor to cater to the diverse interests of their readers, The Associated Press has introduced an enticing collection of recipes on their website. Amongst the mouthwatering options lies the Mexican Pantry Soup, an easy yet flavorful dish that highlights the vibrant and comforting flavors of Mexican cuisine. Bursting with aromatic spices and hearty ingredients, this soup is a celebration of traditional ingredients found in a Mexican pantry. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is bound to impress and satisfy your taste buds. So grab your apron, gather the ingredients, and get ready to embark on a culinary journey with The Associated Press and their delightful Mexican Pantry Soup recipe.

Mexican Pantry Soup Recipe: The Associated Press

Mexican Pantry Soup Recipe

Introduction to Mexican Pantry Soup

If you’re looking for a comforting and flavorful soup that’s easy to make with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry, then Mexican Pantry Soup is the recipe for you! This hearty and delicious soup is a staple in Mexican cuisine, known for its bold flavors and simple preparation. In this article, we’ll dive into the history and significance of Mexican Pantry Soup, explore the key ingredients and spices used, provide step-by-step instructions for making the soup, and share some tips and variations to customize the recipe to your liking.

Ingredients

To make Mexican Pantry Soup, you’ll need a selection of base ingredients, spices and seasonings, and optional additions to enhance the flavor and texture of the soup. Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients you’ll need:

Base Ingredients

  • Vegetable broth: Provides the base for the soup and adds depth of flavor.
  • Tomatoes: Either canned or fresh, tomatoes are a key ingredient in Mexican Pantry Soup.
  • Beans: Choose your favorite variety of beans, such as black beans or pinto beans.
  • Corn: Adds sweetness and texture to the soup.
  • Onion: Adds aromatic flavor to the soup.
  • Garlic: Enhances the overall taste of the soup.
  • Cilantro: Adds freshness and a touch of herbaceousness.
  • Lime Juice: Brightens up the flavors of the soup.

Spices and Seasonings

  • Cumin: Adds warm and earthy flavors to the soup.
  • Chili Powder: Gives the soup a mild level of spiciness.
  • Paprika: Adds a subtle smokiness to the soup.
  • Oregano: Provides a hint of herbal flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season the soup to taste.

Optional Additions

  • Protein: You can add cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp for added protein and heartiness.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add any vegetables you have on hand, such as bell peppers or zucchini.
  • Tortilla Strips: Crispy tortilla strips make a great topping for this soup.
  • Cheese: Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top for added richness.
  • Avocado: Sliced avocado adds creaminess and a fresh element to the soup.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Start by preparing your ingredients. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and gather all the spices and seasonings.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes, you’ll need to blanch them first. To do this, bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the tomatoes in for about a minute. Remove them from the boiling water and place them in a bowl of ice water to cool. Peel off the skin and dice the tomatoes.
  3. Rinse and drain the beans and corn if using canned versions.
  4. Take out the vegetable broth and lime juice from your pantry.
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Cooking Process

  1. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become fragrant and translucent.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, beans, corn, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir again to evenly distribute the spices.
  4. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro and lime juice to add a fresh and bright flavor to the soup.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Ladle the Mexican Pantry Soup into bowls.
  2. Top each bowl with your choice of optional additions, such as tortilla strips, shredded cheese, avocado slices, or any other toppings you desire.
  3. Serve the soup hot and enjoy!

Tips and Variations

Adding Protein

If you want to make your Mexican Pantry Soup more filling, consider adding protein to the recipe. Cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or shrimp are all excellent options that will add a substantial element to the soup. Simply add the protein of your choice during the cooking process, allowing it to heat through before serving.

Vegetarian/Vegan Options

For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, Mexican Pantry Soup can easily be adapted to suit your dietary preferences. Simply omit the meat-based protein options and focus on the variety of vegetables and beans in the soup. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth for a fully plant-based version.

Adjusting Spice Level

If you prefer a spicier soup, feel free to increase the amount of chili powder or add some diced jalapeños or a pinch of cayenne pepper. On the flip side, if you prefer a milder soup, you can reduce the amount of chili powder or omit it entirely. Adjust the spices to your personal taste and spice tolerance.

Garnish Ideas

Get creative with your garnishes to elevate the presentation and flavor of your Mexican Pantry Soup. Freshly chopped cilantro, diced avocado, sour cream, crumbled Mexican cheese, and a squeeze of lime juice are all excellent choices to add both visual appeal and a burst of additional flavor to each bowl of soup.

Storing and Reheating

If you have leftovers or want to make a large batch of Mexican Pantry Soup ahead of time, it’s important to know how to store and reheat it properly. Here are some guidelines:

  • Refrigeration: Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Mexican Pantry Soup is freezer-friendly. Transfer cooled soup to freezer-safe containers or freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  • Reheating: To reheat the soup, simply transfer it to a pot and gently heat it over low heat until warmed through. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

Why Mexican Pantry Soup?

Overview of Mexican Cuisine

Mexican cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors, bold spices, and diverse ingredients. From tacos to enchiladas, Mexican cuisine has gained popularity around the world. Mexican Pantry Soup showcases the essence of this cuisine, as it combines common ingredients found in a Mexican pantry with aromatic spices to create a rich and comforting soup.

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Benefits of Pantry Soups

Pantry soups, like Mexican Pantry Soup, offer several benefits that make them a great addition to any meal plan. Firstly, they provide a convenient and practical way to use up ingredients that you already have in your pantry. This helps reduce food waste and saves you money. Secondly, pantry soups are versatile and can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences and dietary restrictions. You can add or omit ingredients as needed, making it a flexible recipe. Lastly, pantry soups are typically made with shelf-stable ingredients, making them an excellent option for times when you may not have access to fresh produce or need a quick and easy meal solution.

Mexican Pantry Soup Recipe: The Associated Press

History and Significance

Traditional Mexican Soups

In Mexican cuisine, soups have a long and storied history. Traditional Mexican soups often feature a combination of indigenous and Spanish influences, resulting in a unique blend of flavors and techniques. Some well-known Mexican soups include Pozole, a hearty hominy-based soup; Caldo de Res, a flavorful beef soup; and Sopa de Tortilla, a rich and comforting tortilla soup. Mexican Pantry Soup can be seen as a modern twist on these traditional recipes, utilizing pantry staples to create a delicious and accessible dish.

Cultural and Culinary Insights

Mexican cuisine is deeply rooted in the country’s history and culture. Mexican Pantry Soup reflects the resourcefulness of Mexican home cooks, who have mastered the art of creating flavorful meals from simple and readily available ingredients. The soup’s combination of spices, beans, and vegetables showcases the use of indigenous ingredients that have been a part of Mexican cuisine for centuries. Through Mexican Pantry Soup, we can appreciate the culinary heritage and cultural significance of Mexican cooking.

Mexican Pantry Soup Recipe: The Associated Press

Base Ingredients

Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth serves as the foundation of Mexican Pantry Soup. It provides a flavorful and aromatic base for the soup, complementing the other ingredients and enhancing the overall taste of the dish. If you prefer a richer flavor, you can opt for a homemade vegetable broth. Alternatively, store-bought vegetable broth works well too.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a staple in Mexican cuisine, and they play a crucial role in Mexican Pantry Soup. Whether you choose to use fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, they add acidity, sweetness, and a vibrant color to the soup. If using fresh tomatoes, blanching and peeling them will remove the skin and ensure a smoother texture.

Beans

Beans are a staple source of protein in Mexican cuisine, and they feature prominently in Mexican Pantry Soup. Black beans and pinto beans are commonly used, but feel free to experiment with other varieties you have on hand. If using canned beans, be sure to rinse and drain them before adding them to the soup.

Corn

Corn brings natural sweetness and a satisfying crunch to Mexican Pantry Soup. You can use either fresh or canned corn, depending on what you have available. If using fresh corn, simply cut the kernels off the cob. Canned corn can be rinsed and drained before adding it to the soup.

Onion

Onion is an essential ingredient in Mexican Pantry Soup, providing a savory and aromatic base for the flavors to build upon. Yellow onions are typically used, but you can substitute with white or red onions if needed. Chop the onion finely to ensure it cooks evenly in the soup.

Garlic

Garlic adds a rich and robust flavor to Mexican Pantry Soup. Mince the garlic cloves finely to distribute the flavor evenly throughout the soup. If you’re a garlic lover, feel free to add an extra clove or two for an even bolder taste.

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Cilantro

Cilantro, also known as coriander leaves, adds a fresh and herbaceous note to Mexican Pantry Soup. Just before serving, chop the cilantro leaves and stir them into the soup. The brightness of the cilantro complements the rich flavors of the soup.

Lime Juice

Lime juice adds a burst of citrusy tanginess to Mexican Pantry Soup. Squeeze fresh lime juice into the soup just before serving to elevate the flavors and provide a refreshing contrast to the warmth of the spices. Adjust the amount of lime juice to your personal taste preferences.

Mexican Pantry Soup Recipe: The Associated Press

Spices and Seasonings

Cumin

Cumin is a staple spice in Mexican cuisine, known for its warm and earthy flavor. It adds depth and complexity to Mexican Pantry Soup, enhancing the overall taste profile. You can use ground cumin or whole cumin seeds. If using whole seeds, toast them lightly in a dry pan before grinding to release their aroma.

Chili Powder

Chili powder adds a mild level of spiciness to Mexican Pantry Soup. It’s a blend of dried and ground chili peppers, combined with other spices such as cumin, paprika, and oregano. The heat level can vary depending on the brand and type of chili powder you use. Adjust the amount to your preferred level of spice.

Paprika

Paprika adds a subtle smokiness to Mexican Pantry Soup. It enhances the overall flavor profile, providing a rounded and balanced taste. You can choose between sweet or smoked paprika, depending on your preference. Smoked paprika adds an extra layer of depth and complexity to the soup.

Oregano

Oregano is a popular herb in Mexican cooking, known for its strong and aromatic flavor. Mexican Pantry Soup benefits from the addition of oregano, as it adds a hint of herbal essence to complement the other spices and ingredients. Use dried oregano for convenience and easy incorporation.

Salt and Pepper

Salt and pepper are essential seasonings in any recipe, and Mexican Pantry Soup is no exception. These basic seasonings help to balance the flavors and bring out the natural tastes of the other ingredients. Add salt and pepper gradually, tasting along the way to achieve the perfect seasoning for your soup.

Mexican Pantry Soup Recipe: The Associated Press

Storing and Reheating

Refrigeration

If you have leftovers of Mexican Pantry Soup, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Always use a clean utensil when scooping out portions to avoid contamination. To reheat, simply transfer the desired amount of soup to a pot and gently heat it over low heat until warmed through. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

Freezing

Mexican Pantry Soup freezes well, making it a convenient option for meal prep or future use. To freeze the soup, allow it to cool completely first. Transfer the cooled soup to freezer-safe containers or freezer bags, leaving some room for expansion. Label the containers with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheating Tips

When reheating Mexican Pantry Soup, it’s best to do so gently over low heat. This helps to prevent the soup from becoming overly hot and maintains the flavors and textures. Stir the soup occasionally to ensure even heating and serve it hot.

In conclusion, Mexican Pantry Soup is a versatile and flavorful dish that can be easily made using ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. It offers a taste of traditional Mexican cuisine, showcasing the rich flavors and vibrant ingredients that make this style of cooking so beloved. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking for a comforting and satisfying meal, Mexican Pantry Soup is the perfect recipe to try. So gather your pantry ingredients, follow the step-by-step instructions, and enjoy a bowl of this delicious soup that celebrates the culinary heritage of Mexico.