It’s fall on this side of the hemisphere, and my friends who live in cooler climes have been waxing rhapsodic about soup.
Here in East Texas, while we have been having more temperate weather than the crushing heat wave we suffered under this past summer, with the exception of a few random days, one can’t really describe our current weather as “soup weather.”
On Sunday (aka the fourth game day of the World Series here 😉 Go Rangers!), neither hubby or I could think of anything that we particularly desired for supper. I kept rooting around in the freezer and pantry, trying to think of something that sounded tasty and that could be made without a trip to the store. After some thought, I decided to try my hand at making Chili Soup!
So when supper was ready, when I said “Soup’s On,” I really was talking about soup 😉 (Go on, reminisce with Donald 🙂 You know you want to!)
We have chili with a fair amount of regularity. Chili con carne (chili with meat) is TexMex ambrosia. Seriously. It is the perfect food. I would venture to say there are as many variations on this delicious and versatile dish as there are stars in the sky. Leftovers can be used in a myriad of ways, and it freezes quite well, too.
Typically, my chili is a thick, hearty, spicy, meat and bean concoction, ‘though I also make a mighty tasty vegetarian chili out of pinto beans. But on Sunday, I didn’t have all the ingredients for my usual chili, for one thing, and for another, chili wasn’t quite what I wanted. However, I found the idea of Chili Soup — which I’d never made — to be quite appealing.
I patterned my Chili Soup after my chili, and as such, it’s a somewhat milder, and certainly soupier, version of my more traditional chili. We dressed individual servings with some cooked macaroni, oyster crackers, shredded reduced-fat cheese, and jalapeños. You can stretch the servings by adding in another can of beans, rinsed and drained.
Vegetarians: Substitute an additional can (or two) of beans, rinsed and drained, for the meat, or use Soyrizo or another appropriate meat substitute.
Missie’s Chili Soup (Serves 5 to 8, depending upon how you make it and “dress” it)
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I use 93/7 or 96/4) OR lean (93/7) ground turkey
- 1/2 to 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Fire Roasted tomatoes)
- 1 can (8 oz ea) tomato sauce
- 2-4 healthy splashes of vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
- 1 beef bullion cube (Vegetarians: Use vegetable bullion)
- 1 can (6 ozs) tomato paste
- 3 cups water or beer
- 2 to 3 squirts of red ketchup
- 2 to 3 splashes Worcestershire sauce (Vegetarians: Leave out)
- 1 can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained (NOTE: If making with turkey, use black beans or white navy beans for the best flavor!) (Use an additional can of beans, if desired, to achieve additional servings)
- Couple of bay leaves (if I fail to fish out the bay leaf before we eat, hubby always refers to “finding the prize” if he accidentally dishes it up)
- Seasonings to taste: garlic (powder or minced or fresh; actually, even when I use minced or fresh, I add some powder, also), cumin, red pepper (flakes are best), chili powder, paprika, onion powder, and a few splashes of Tobasco sauce if you like
- Heat a large Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium to medium-high heat. If necessary, add a splash of oil or spray with non-stick spray (I just “season” a non-stick pan with a wee bit of oil).
- Brown meat. Drain, if necessary.
- Add in diced onion. Add in minced garlic, if using.
- Splash in vinegar. Add bullion cube(s), Worcestershire, and desired amount of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and red pepper to the meat and simmer it for a few minutes, until the vinegar begins cooking into the meat.
- Add in the diced tomatoes (UNDRAINED) and stir in. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir in the ketchup. Add the bay leaf. Stir in three cups of water (I just “measured” it out using the tomato sauce tin). Add the beans (rinsed and drained) and let it all simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.
- Stir and taste as it simmers, adjusting seasonings accordingly.
- Serve and dress with your favorite accompaniments: shredded or sliced cheeses (usually reduced fat in our house), crackers (oyster or saltine), tortilla chips, jalapeños, sour cream (we use reduced fat, of course), and/or cooked macaroni noodles or rice —whatever you like!
CrockPot It: To make in your CrockPot, brown the meat and onion. Mix together all ingredients in the CrockPot, EXCEPT reduce water to probably 2 cups OR leave water a 3 cups but use a 12 ounce tin of tomato paste. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Remember – a CrockPot liner makes clean up that much easier!