Larry’s Campfire Chili Soup (Mild)

Larry's Campfire Chili
This blend has full flavor and fragrance of a campfire, without added chili heat.

Makes 6 dinner size servings.

1 small red onion, diced
2 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 lbs 80% ground beef, or beef roast cut into small cubes
2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted, diced, tomatoes (with juice)
3 (14.5 oz) cans water
1 cup tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika (not the hot variety)
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (add more, if desired)

1. Melt butter over high heat. Add onions and cook, covered, until translucent
2. Spoon out the onions and butter, and reserve
3. Place the beef into pan and cook until browned on all edges.
4. Spoon off (or drain) and discard all the liquid
5. Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper
6. Cook over high heat until a boil is maintained, and then reduce to medium low heat and bring to a simmer (180-200 degrees)
7. Add 1/2 of the paprika, then adjust the smoke flavor to taste (careful not to overdo, because too much can get bitter)
8. Simmer at least one hour to let the flavors blend (I often let it cook several hours to better blend the flavors, and have often cooked it through the night.)
9. Adjust seasoning, and add the beans just a few minutes before removing the chili from the heat, to keep them firm.

(Cook’s Note: You may add more or less water, depending on how “soupy” you like your chili. Also, you should taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.)

Larry with Pot of Hot BrothI used to really enjoy cooking up a big pot of this over a campfire, back in the day. I would usually start it right after lunch and let 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. There is a lot you can do to shape chili to suit your tastes; 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 the sides mentioned in Gene Vaughn’s 2-Alarm Chili.