So it is the end of the week. Maybe it was even a long week, and you have not gone grocery shopping yet. You open the fridge, peer inside and see a bunch of leftovers, nearly-spoiled vegetables you forgot about and subsequently allowed to roll to the back of your now, near empty, cool, bright space. You have a few things in the pantry, including some Red Cactus-USA salsa, and you are looking for a healthy or at least a homey option. Fortunately for you, if worse comes to worst you could always crack open the jar of salsa and go at it with a spoon. After all, it is non-GMO, gluten-free and comes with vegetables fresh from our garden. But as good as Red Cactus salsa is, we understand only our die-hard fans would ever do such a thing. So we present to you, Mustgo Soup. Get it? Mustgo Soup? As in, Must-Go. As in everything must go?
Like a finely crafted salsa, cooking is about ingredients. It is also about technique. Combine the two and voila, the world is your oyster until you decide to eat it. So let us jump right in with no time to waste because there is a meal to make, food to be had, and ingredients to save from being added to the pile of preventable food waste. The first step is identifying your ingredients and thinking about what flavors compliment each other. Bacon and gorgonzola, throw in some sage or rosemary and add a pear. Holy moly see you later. Search your fridge and pile what you have that you know is about to expire. This is a perfect time to experiment, and while you experiment always remember that it is easier to add an ingredient and nearly impossible to remove it.
Always start with the onion. If you have carrots and celery, you can add those to finish up the ‘holy trinity’ of french cuisine known as a mirepoix. Celery is also a way to get a little more natural sodium into a dish. We’ll throw together a Mustgo Soup from our fridge to give you an idea and you can take it and run wild.
Here’s a list of ingredients we found:
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 pound bacon
- ½ pound mushroom
- 1 onion
- A few sprigs of dill
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 1/2 pound of tofu
- 4 cups of veggie stock
- 3 carrots, halved and cut on the bias
- 3 stalks celery, cut on the bias
- 1 can of Miller High-Life, or other beer
- 1 jar of Red Cactus-USA salsa
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ bag of baby spinach
- 1 can of corn
- Salt and pepper
To start, dice up the bacon and toss it into a pot or dutch oven. Crank that heat to medium and let it cook away. As the bacon cooks, you’ll want to dice the onions. An easy way to do this is to find the nub with the strands on it. Cut that in half to the other nub. Remove the ‘papery’ layers. Next, you will want to lay the flat part of the onion on the cutting board and run the knife through the onion from the nub end to the other nub end, roughly close together. Next, you can bisect it in half running the blade so it is parallel with your cutting surface. Finally, for that perfect diced onion, run your knife perpendicular to your previous cuts. The small, square pieces of onions should be left on your cutting board at the end.
Remove the bacon pieces and set aside. Great, now that we have learned to cut an onion, take those diced onions and toss them into your pot with the bacon fat. Let them cook until tender. Next, add the ground pork. Cook until browned. Halfway through the process, add your mushrooms, thyme leaves, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves. Be sure to mix the batch, scraping the bottom every so often. Add the bacon, Red Cactus-USA salsa, corn, salt, and pepper. Continue to stir.
Deglaze with the vegetable stock. Scrape the bottom to be sure the brown bits (that’s where all the flavor is) are added back into the soup as not to burn. Bring to a boil and add the Miller High Life (or other light beer). Once the pot has reached a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. This allows the soup to reduce a bit while cooking the alcohol out of the beer.
While the soup is reducing, prepare the remaining ingredients. For our specific soup, this means prepping the tofu as well as the spinach. It is important to identify and separate what ingredients take longer to cook versus what ingredients cook quickly. For instance, mushrooms can often be added at any stage in the process. For this soup, we decided we wanted to add the mushrooms early to soak up the flavors early on while reducing them in size by having them cook longer.
Because spinach and tofu can cook very quickly, we saved those to the very end. Adding the tofu and spinach, continue cooking the soup at a simmer until the spinach has wilted and the tofu begins to break apart. And like that, Mustgo Soup.
At Red Cactus-USA, we pride ourselves on being a company that cares about more than just our product. From our neighbors and community to communities around the country, we strive to help those in need. It is not just about making a buck or the bottom line which is why owner and founder, Steven, continues what he calls his journey “From the Cactus to the Cross.” The journey is about outreach and passion and he is available to visit your church or meeting place to speak and share stories. It is all in the name of encouraging others to serve. If you or someone you know is interested in having Steven speak to your group, church or at a conference, he can be reached at 217-653-8147 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Red Cactus-USA and our mission, be sure to check out our About Us page and keep up to date with the latest and greatest on our Facebook page.