We couldn’t help it (Grin) The title really does say it all, though. A hardy chili soup is a wonderful warmer upper for these bone-chilling cold days of winter. Beefy, and full of delicious flavors, chili soup can range from one extreme to another. In our own soup category we have chili soups mild enough for children, and those 2-alarm varieties for those who like to sweat as they enjoy the earthiness of browned beef combined with all those delicious tomatoey flavors. We have even made a pork-based chili, and, of course, a no-meat version that delivers the flavor so well you almost forget that its vegetarian!
Basic Chili Soup
Every chili starts with the basics and builds from there. This version is a very versatile recipe developed for our grandsons, ranging in age from 4 to 9, all with different preferences for how much spiciness and heat they like. We serve the basic chili with sides of sour cream, grated cheese, and a variety of hot sauce(s). This basic recipe can also work as your base chili soup, allowing you to add flavorings, adjusting the ingredients, to develop your own recipe. The recipe is here.
Campfire Chili (Mild)
Larry used to really enjoy cooking up a big pot of this chili soup over a campfire, starting it right after lunch and letting it cook all afternoon, blending its flavors with the smoke from the wood fire. The aromas were tantalizing, and by dinner time everyone was anxious to dive in. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top, or take it in what ever direction you like by selecting some of your favorite sides. Here’s the recipe.
Larry’s Chipotle Chili Soup (Medium Heat)
For those who like a little bit of heat in their chili, here’s a recipe that uses delicious chipotle chilies in adobo sauce that delivers just enough heat to sit on the back of the tongue without overpowering the pallet. We also use lean ground beef and fire roasted tomatoes for that great outdoor flavor that’s almost too big to fit in a bowl. The recipe is located here.
Gene Vaughn’s 2-Alarm Chili (Hot)
This recipe was one of Larry’s dad’s favorites. Gene enjoyed cooking for “all the guys” on National Guard drill weekends. His recipe has adapted and embellished from the Army’s 1944 Cook’s Manual, Recipe #321 (Chili Con Carne). Adjust the seasoning if you don’t want it hot as it does carry a lot of spicy flavors, mellowed by the chocolate flavor. Find this hot-as-you-like-it recipe here.
White Bean and Pork Chili (Mild)
A delightful change from most chili soups, the mild Poblano and green chilies add the chili flavor you might think you’d miss without chili powder, but the flavor is there, and the chilies are quite mild. This flavor goes very well with corn chips, and can be elevated to another level by adding slices of avocado and squeezing more lime juice over them. The recipe is located here.
Vegetable Chili (No-Meat)
Here’s a vegetable chili that even meat lovers will like. Dice the veggies for this in a larger dice than usual, about the size of a kidney bean, to give those meat eaters the “toothiness,” or, “bite,” that is usually associated with meat. Adjust your seasonings to taste, and you’ll have a dish that everyone at the table will find comforting and delicious. Here’s the recipe.
Spoon Dumplings for Soup
Looking for something a little special? Take any soup or stew to a whole other level by adding simple spoon dumplings just like great-grandma used to make. This recipe was handed down by Lea’s grandmother, and has long been a family favorite. These dumplings are moist and silky, adding another layer of flavor and texture to elevate your dish. Here is the recipe.