You love it or you hate it.
I love it.
There is something about the smell of fresh cilantro that makes any meal more appealing. I can’t even describe the flavor of it since…well…I guess it’s just a flavor of it’s own.
It’s so fun to work with fresh herbs. Even though I have no green thumb to grow any, just buying them at the grocery store makes me feel accomplished. Like I’m some superwoman for using a fresh plant instead of the simply dehydrated stuff. Don’t get me wrong, those are life savers!
I tend to have only one fresh herb on hand at a time since it takes me forever to decide what to do with each one, and then by that time it goes bad within a day or two. So until I become a more accomplished herb-atorian, I will stick to that “one at a time” rule.
So for my cilantro experience this past week, I decided on soup. Soup in summer?! Yes!
Any time is a good time for this Southwest Cilantro and Jalapeno Stew.
This soup reminds me a little bit of my San Antonio Stew, but with much bolder flavors coming from the cilantro, jalapeno juice, and taco seasoning. It also has a bit of a floral and earthy undertone with the honey and cinnamon. Plus the black and pinto beans add some more heartiness to this stew.
After making this soup, it dawned on me that you could easily substitute ground beef. You would omit the crockpot cooking after browning the meat and heat the soup in a large pot for an hour. It would be a quicker meal than the stew meat, but I do love me some tender stew meat in my soups!
What are your favorite fresh herbs and what do you make with them?
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 pounds lean stew meat or ground beef*
- 4¼ cups water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup mild pickled jalapeno juice
- 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
- ¼ cup McCormick taco seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro, loosely packed (about ½ a bunch)
- 1 bag frozen corn (12 oz.)
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1-1½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Trim fat off of stew meat and cut chunks into equal bite sized pieces for even cooking. Dice onion and roughly chop cilantro. Dissolve cornstarch into 4¼ cups cool water. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until becoming slightly tender. Add stew meat or ground beef* and cook until browned on outside. Transfer onion and meat to a crockpot.
- Add the water mixture, jalapeno juice, and diced tomatoes with juice to the crockpot and stir. Add taco seasoning, oregano, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and cilantro to crockpot and stir. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours (2½-3 hours on high) or until meat is tender, adding the frozen corn and black beans the last hour of cooking.
- Once meat is tender, remove lid and add honey, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Stir and taste. Add additional seasonings to liking.
- Serve warm with desired toppings.