Monday, January 3, 2011

Chili Soup

I grew up eating "chili soup." It wasn't until I went to college or later that I realized that most people don't automatically use "chili" as an adjective. The label on the recipe card simply says "chili," but I know I've seen "chili soup" in my mother's handwriting somewhere.

Since I've had my own home, I've made other chili recipes frequently and rarely made my mother's. It's not that I don't like her recipe. I guess I was just making my own way, finding my own preferences. One of the first recipes for chili that I made after getting married (and I got married rather young, right after college, so really didn't start doing any large degree of cooking until I was married) comes from the Sunset Vegetarian Cookbook. I'm surprised to find that this cookbook looks the same as it did when I first purchased it in the mid-1980s. That recipe calls for mustard seed, chocolate, cinnamon, and toppings, which all seemed quite radical back in the day. I'd never thought of putting cheese on top of my chili, let alone pickled onion. I've used a variation of this particular chili recipe for years. However, one day just a few years ago, I somehow agreed to host a gathering of my teenage sons and their friends to watch The Ohio State vs. University of Michigan football game. Being planned solely by the boys themselves, it was done rather on the spur of the moment, and as luck would have it, game day fell on the same day as our local holiday parade, an event my family has dubbed "the longest parade in the universe." In fact, this parade is walked in by seemingly every single citizen and organization in our community. It seems ever family in town has at least one member in the parade.

This little event and the spur of the moment planning on the part of the boys left me needing to make two crock pots of chili in a hurry. So, I tried something I'd never tried before. Chili seasoning packets. I also had at least two vegetarians coming, so I decided to just make both batches vegetarian, which saved the time to brown beef. In essence, I chopped some onions and opened up cans of beans and tomatoes, dumped it all in the crockpots, added packets of seasoning, and a few hours later, voila! chili that had the boys drooling. One young man asked me to give his mother my recipe for the best chili he'd ever eaten. Flattering, yet disappointing.

My first thought upon deciding to engage in this activity was that I'd start with one of mom's signature recipes: rhubarb pie, lasagna, hamburger stroganoff, strawberry jam, coffee cake, pumpkin roll, Dilly Bread, the list could go on.

But today just called for Chili Soup (pictures to come)

Peg Hubbell's Chili Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic

1 large can crushed tomatoes with puree
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can Bush beans in chili sauce
1 can Bush pinto beans or refried
1 can H2O or more
1 Tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sugar
Bay leaf, basil, oregano
salt, pepper

That's all that's written on the recipe card. I assume that she assumed any idiot could figure out you mix it all together, heat, and stir.

I doubled the recipe (which I frequently try to do so that I can freeze some and have leftovers) and I didn't use Bush brand beans. I assume that at one point, there simply weren't as many brand options available. Instead, I used Kroger brand beans "chili ready".

I served this with a green salad and corn meal muffins. The muffins tasted fine, but didn't look very appealing since, at the last minute, I realized I didn't have any white flour in the house and had to make them with whole wheat flour.

This recipe got a 5/5 with all of us enjoying it.

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