I’ve decided since the world has gone all inside out that I needed to find a food topic that I have always felt strongly about and take a whole new look at it. We are all learning to adjust to new normal and adapting to crazy situations that we need to learn how to open our minds to things we never thought we could be okay with.
Think about it….it is now NORMAL to walk around the store and see people with masks on their faces. In previous years, you’d see a mask on someone’s face and wonder what bank they were about to rob and look for the nearest exit.
We are all washing our hands over and over and over. Years earlier Donahue would have called this an obsessive-compulsive disorder. (Younger people…you can go on the google and look up Phil Donahue.)
It is now an everyday occurrence to forgo the basic greetings of a handshake or a hug . Heck, we aren’t even supposed to get within 6 feet of each other. Where was this behavior when I first got married? You know how many awkward greetings I could have avoided with my husband’s family?! (A good in-law joke is always politically correct in times of stress.)
And the craziest thing happening is people are cooking!? Every time I go online, someone is talking about using up pantry staples and making dinner at home. I feel like I’m a trendsetter!!! I’ve been doing this for years. It has been like I’m training for a marathon and this is the time for me to run with everything I known.
I’ve continued to look back at my own recipes and trying to find something I could share that would help people stretch the food in their pantry, refrigerator and freezer but I also wanted it to fit this bizarre world we are living in. It didn’t take me long to figure it out…mostly because it is one of my hot topics. It is probably one of the biggest things I find the urge to correct people on when they put it on a menu board….chili. IT IS NOT A SOUP….or is it??? (I’m all twirly in my head just thinking about it.)
For years and years, I would go into a restaurant and ask “What is your soup of the day?” EVERY time the response would be chili….I would say “That isn’t a soup, it is chili.” I’m not sure why it bugs me so much other than the very simple fact that I really love soup.
Chili isn’t really “soupy,” it is just too thick and chunky. If you turn your spoon over and it plops down, it isn’t a soup. A soup should flow a little bit. It can have some bits and pieces but there needs to be a little fluidity.
So, this past week, I decided why can’t chili be a soup or why can’t a soup be chili? Why can’t I make a chili but add a lot of broth to it and make it seem like a soup? Are the soup police going to come stop me? Are the chili police going to give me summons? No, not right now. There are bigger things to stop in the food world right now….like those people call a tater tot casserole a healthy complete dinner. (Are you now thinking…tater tot casserole sounds delicious…because I am.)
I digress. I went into this to make a chili soup and I must say…it turned out to be one of the most satisfying soups I’ve made in a long time. It gave me every essence of chili but it was so brothy and warmed my soul. (My soul likes soup.)
Like any recipe, look for what you have and be flexible. I use a variety of chili powders that I have on hand but you can use what you have on hand. I recommend to everyone to keep a variety of tomato products in their pantry (diced, sauces, pastes, pizza sauce puree, chili spiced, etc.) They are remarkably handy when you want to make a soup….and we can call whatever we want a soup these days…. because we are social distancing and no one should be around us anyway!
1 pound ground pork (I confess…I used boar…because it was in the freezer but feel free to use beef, turkey or chicken too)
2 red, yellow or orange peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
2 stalks of celery
1 can of diced tomatoes, fire roasted preferably, 14 ounces
1 can of rotel original tomatoes, 14 ounces
1 can of tomato sauce, 14 ounces
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp of chipotle chili powder
1 tsp of ancho chili powder
1 tsp chili powder (the basic stuff we all have)
1 tsp roasted cumin
1 tsp of fresh garlic
Optional ½ cup of cooked pasta like an elbow or ditalini, oyster crackers, shredded cheese, fried onions, whatever you like on chili
This is easiest if you have a slow cooker but you can make it low and slow in a 5-quart Dutch oven on the stove.
Brown the meat, add to the pot.
Sauté the peppers, onion and celery until just soft, not mushy. Add to pot.
Add everything else to the pot EXCEPT the cooked pasta.
Cook on low about 7 hours.
Ta-dah. Chili that is soup. Garnish with your favorite optional ingredients.