Taco Soup

Story Recipe

Last year, Cinco de Mayo was such a success that we are planning to do it again this year. Cook made his shopping list, Jennifer soaked paper strips in glue for a pinata, Leslie brushed up on the history of the battle of Puebla and Frank and I drove out to Juan's for a load of traditional Mexican weed. It's not very good, but we were feeling nostalgic.
Juan (Not his real name) was parked on the front porch smoking some of his inventory and sipping from a sweaty glass of lemonade. I’d never seen him stand up, but I’d guess he was 5' 1" and 190 lbs. From his slovenly shape and the stereotypical get up he wore (serape, cowboy boots and straw hat) you would never guess that he was a successful attorney. At least that was the story. All I knew was that he kept a small field of Sinsemilla growing somewhere in the woods behind his house.
"What are you going to do now that dope is legal?" asked Frank. Juan didn’t say anything. He never said anything about himself, but there were rumors. If the rumors can be believed, he is a lawyer by day, helping to put the bad guys away, but by night he goes outlaw. Some say that he needs to break a law or two just to unwind, others think that he steps over the legal line to balance out his karma – for every down on his luck victim of the boys in blue he ruins by putting them away, he sells a few dime bags. It’s not the most developed philosophy, but it seems to work for Juan.
The best part about going to Juan is that a dime bag is still a whole ounce. Catch him after a felony trial and you get a few grams extra. Cook doesn't like that he has to use more weed in his recipes, but he graciously agreed to use Mexican dope for Cinco de Mayo.
I think Juan liked our idea because he pulled out a baggie stuffed to the bursting and exchanged it for a crumpled 10 from Frank. (I know! Frank paid! Maybe that was part of what impressed Juan into generosity).
Frank wanted to roll a number for the trip home, but his driving is frightening enough when he isn’t high. I managed to get ahold of the baggie and hid it away until Frank’s van pulled through the "short cut" (everyone else calls it the front yard) and bumped up against the neighbor's Japanese maple. As usual, Frank promised to check the breaks on the van soon.
Grateful for making it back without any serious injuries, I rolled up a fatty that looked like something Snoop would have for breakfast and sparked it up. It was harsh and weak, just like we remembered from the old days. By the time we were have way through, we started to get a buzz and by the end, we hit the good and mellow level.
Cook came out, drawn by the smell and took the baggie inside to get cooking. Frank and I went to find his old Machine Head album, so I have to count on Leslie’s report for the scoop on what Cook did with the weed.
She reported that Cook turned the ounce of dope into a cup of canna oil. If you try this one with modern weed, use the ratios you are used to. While the canna oil was cooking, Cook fried off two pounds of ground beef and a chopped onion. We heard Jennifer over the bass line to Smoke on the Water, complaining about Cook's use of 80% lean ground beef. Jennifer has lost 10 pounds recently and wants to keep it off. She won't eat fat. Cook likes the flavor of fat. It is an argument that will never be settled. In this case though, he made a compromise – after the meat was browned, he pour off the liquid and replaced it with canna oil. He added a bit of flour and let the mixture cook for a few minutes. Leslie asked him about the flour and he explained that it was to thicken the soup.
The meat and onions went into a Dutch oven along with tomatoes, corn and chilies. He also added some black and pinto beans that he soaked overnight. Cook poured in some powdered spices which he called his "Secret recipe." I had to wait until the THC from a couple of bowls of soup to kick in to get him to tell me that the powder included ground red chilies, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and salt. The secret, he whispered to me, was to add half at the beginning, half part way through and half near the end. It made perfect sense to me at the time.
Cook put the Dutch oven on the stove, brought it to a simmer and covered it for an hour. By the time the soup was ready, Frank and I were coming down from our smoke out in the van, so we were good and ready.
The soup was amazing! Cook prepared a platter with limes, tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, sour cream, green onions, chilies, and cabbage. He showed us how to ladle up a bowl of soup and garnish it with the fixings. Frank hit his with some hot sauce that he needs a license from the FDA to possess. Leslie squeezed her lime into a glass of vodka. Jennifer put on a CD of mariachi music. I think there must have been something left from the joint because I had an overwhelming desire to fill my bowl with chips and start munching.
Somewhere in the celebration, Juan showed up and tried to get us to help him vandalize the nuclear submarine base. Jennifer managed to convince him to settle for a few bowls of soup with a few hits of Frank's hot sauce.

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