Soup’s On

A Facebook friend posted a status about food today. Not just any food though, it was a post about chili. He was lamenting that it was still so hot outside but he wanted to eat the chili that his other friend had made. I replied letting him know that it’s never the wrong time of year for chili. I will maintain this position whether it is 10 degrees out or 110. I. Love. Chili. Heck, I love soups of all kinds. There’s never a bad weather for soup, and even if you don’t want a warm soup, there are some delicious cold ones. Pineapple soup or tomato gazpacho, anyone?

I’d like to share with you my secret quick chili recipe. Maybe it’s nothing special, but I think it’s darn good. You’ll need:

1 ½ lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
16 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika
½ - 1 tsp ancho chili pepper powder (or you can use a less hot variety, or just double up on the regular chili powder)
¼ tsp garlic salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp salt (I usually omit this in favor of more garlic salt)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
½ C water
Pepper to taste Tabasco (or other hot sauce) to taste

Sometimes I’ll throw a seeded jalapeno pepper into the mix too, but that all depends on my mood. You can certainly omit it if you don’t like your chili hot.

  1. Brown meat and onion in a skillet. Don’t overdo it. You want your meat to be slightly pink. If you’re going to add in the jalapeno pepper, this would be the time to do it.
  2. Drain off fat. If you’re using 93% lean ground beef, don’t bother to drain it.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water in a large pot.
  4. Add drained meat and onions to tomato mixture.
  5. Add all spices and hot sauce to large pot. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

You may want to garnish this with Monterey Jack or another kind of cheese and sour cream. You could also make some rice and serve it over that if you feel so inclined.

So what makes a good soup? Most of the time for a warm soup, it’s the length of the simmer. The longer the soup cooks, the better the flavors meld, and the more satisfying it will be. If you’re making a soup with a tomato or acidic base, you might want to consider using stainless steel or even cast iron, as these materials won’t leach chemicals like copper will or melt like tin can. I could get into a whole discussion of the pros and cons of types of pots, and the best materials to use, but I ultimately think that the best cookware set is the one that you like the best; the one that it makes you happy to use.

Of course, no matter what your soup is, you’ll need a ladle to dish it out with, and a nice pretty serving bowl in which to display it in all its glory. I always try to compliment the color of the soup with the color of the bowl.

Don’t have the hours to spare to make a good soup? We’ve got you covered with some great pre-made soups

Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015