Anything Soup

Start with a diced onion (everything starts with a diced, sautéed onion), sauté it (I usually just do all the sautéing in the same pot that I'm planning to use for the soup, leaving all the flavours where you want them the most) with some leek and some celery. Remove the vegetables from the pot and brown some ground beef (or pork or veal or chicken or any combination thereof). When the meat is browned, pour into the pot -- over the meat -- two twenty-eight ounce cans of diced tomatoes, one can of water, the onion mixture and two bouillon cubes. Allow it to simmer for about twenty minutes, add some steamed rice and a nineteen ounce can of your favourite beans. Season the soup with a teaspoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of oregano, half a teaspoon of cumin and then simmer for ten minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings and serve it with grated Monterey Jack cheese and corn chips. I sometimes vary this by frying up some diced bacon and instead of using ground meat, adding diced leftover cooked chicken or turkey to the soup about five minutes before adding the rice. Or I'll use different herbs and spices. Or I'll use noodles instead of rice. Or I'll dice potatoes, browning them slightly in butter, just cover with water and simmer ten minutes before adding the tomato and seasonings. Or, instead of tomato and seasonings, I'll add stock that I've made from my roast chicken or turkey carcass. Then, after letting that simmer 20 minutes or so, I'll add frozen mini ravioli or any other pasta shape and cook till tender. You get the idea. Your only limitations are your imagination and the leftovers (or "planned-overs") in your fridge.

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