Southern Cooking… Chicken Taco Soup, Ham and Lima Bean Soup and Camp Stew

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By Andy Bedwell

There are some things that you have to know how to make to be a good Southern cook. Fried chicken is a must have, but homemade soup and good Southern cornbread is a close second. I am so fortunate to be in a long line of relatives who enjoyed cooking. This week I am adding some new soups to my soup file that I hope all of you will enjoy.

Chicken Taco Soup

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can Shoe Peg corn, drained

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small onion, chopped

½ (15 oz.) can green enchilada sauce

1 can (4oz.) diced chilies

3 cups chicken broth

1 package taco seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients together in a pot and simmer for at least an hour.

Andy’s Note: I like to put this in a crockpot and cook for several hours. I love for any soup to simmer for hours. A shake of garlic powder will make it even tastier. Garnish with tortilla chips and grated cheese. Sometimes, I even add more tomatoes.

Ham and Lima Bean Soup

(8 oz.) dried lima beans

2 cups onion, chopped

2 cloves minced garlic

2 cans chicken broth

1 ½ cups ham, cooked and chopped

1 cup carrots, sliced

1 cup water

1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Place beans in a stockpot. Add enough water to cover beans by at least two inches. Boil on medium heat for 30 minutes covered. Remove from heat and let the beans set for 30 minutes. Drain beans and add back to stockpot. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer covered for one hour. Check to see if more water needs to be added.

Andy’s Note: This recipe came from the great state of Tennessee. Ham and lima beans go so well together. This is a little different but so good.

Easy Camp Stew

1 ½ pound ground beef

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

2 (1 pound) cans tomatoes

2 cans Green Giant Mexican Corn

1 cup onion, chopped

1 (10 oz.) bottle ketchup

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients well. Cook in a crockpot on high for three hours.

Andy’s Note: Quick, easy and good is all I can say about this stew.

Southern Cornbread

1 ½ cups self-rising cornmeal

Handful self-rising flour

1 tablespoon sugar (no, it will not be sweet bread)

1 egg, beaten

½ cup Crisco oil

1 ½ cups buttermilk

Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into a greased hot and sizzling iron skillet. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Andy’s Note: Be sure that you use enough oil that it will easily “run around” the skillet. An un-written Southern rule is that you never throw away leftover cornbread. I save mine for Mary Virginia’s Chicken and Dressing Casserole, cornbread salad or Doug’s cornbread and buttermilk in a glass. Homemade cornbread is definitely a must with these recipes. In my opinion, my mother’s cornbread recipe is the best ever. I cannot begin to tell you how many people that my sister Mary and I have given this to. In my cookbook, I titled it my “Everyday Southern Cornbread.”

Happy New Year to all of you! I pray that this will be the best year ever for all of us!

Happy Cooking in 2024,

Andy Bedwell

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in downtown Gadsden and The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.

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