Basic Chili Soup

Basic Chili Soup
Serves 8-10

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 Green Bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 Red Bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped and smashed
5 lbs (80/20) ground beef, coarse or chili grind
1 (28 oz) can Crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 (14.5 oz) cans Red Kidney beans, drained
3 cups tomato or vegetable juice, or Bloody Mary mix
2 beef bullion cubes
3 Bay leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp chili pepper (or, to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Brown the ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat
2. Drain off and dispose of the fat, remove the beef from the pan, and set aside
3. Add the olive oil to the pan, and saute all veggies until tender (about 4 minutes)
4. Add the cooked beef back into the pan, stir briefly to combine with the veggies
5. Add the tomatoes
6. Add the tomato juice, vegetable juice, or Bloody Mary mix
7. Drop in the bullion cubes, stir around to start them breaking down
8. Add chili pepper, cumin and pepper, stir to combine
9. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then cover, reduce to medium-low heat, and simmer for 60 minutes
10. Remove the Bay leaves before serving

Lea stirs potThis is a very versatile recipe I developed for our grandsons, ranging in age from 4 to 9, all with different preferences for how much spiciness and heat they like. So, we serve this with sides of sour cream, cheese of your choice as a topping, and a variety of hot sauce(s). Adults and older children will likely add hot sauce to spice it up, while the younger tykes appreciate the absence of the heat. This basic recipe can also work as your base chili soup, allowing you to add flavorings as desired to adjust it to your taste.