I won’t ever fully confess to being tired of tamales, but there are moments this time of year  when my fridge and freezer are overflowing with them that I think, “Am I really ready to eat tamales again for lunch?”

Over the weekend, I put some of those tamales to use in this mishmash of a stew. With the shredded cabbage, cilantro, avocado and fried tortilla strips on top, it’s a hybrid between pozole and chicken tortilla soup, with kale and a few cans of beans throw in because I like them.

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Because it was the weekend, I had time to cut up fresh corn tortillas into strips and fry them while the soup was cooking, but regular old tortilla chips would be just fine.

A hearty winter soup made with tamales, kale and two kinds of beans. Photo by Addie Broyles.

Tamal Soup with Kale, Beans, Avocado

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion diced
1/2 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomatillo (or regular) salsa
1 (15-oz.) can charro beans (undrained)
1 (15-oz) can kidney beans (drained)
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 cup chopped kale
8 tamales, husks removed
For garnish:
Shredded cabbage or slaw
Tortilla chips
Chopped cilantro
Sliced avocado
Sliced jalapenos

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper for about 10 to 15 minutes until the aromatics soften. Add garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add salsa and beans. Cover the ingredients with water, about 8 cups or more, depending on how much liquid you prefer in your soup. Add bouillon cube.

Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes so the beans don’t burn on the bottom of the pot. Add kale and cook for 5 minutes. Tear tamales into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.