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Chili Soup: Clean Your Fridge, Fill Your Belly

April 9, 2011

The Soup Guy is one of a network of cafeteria style establishments across from where I work.  A few years back I was fortunate enough to stumble upon them when they were serving what they call Obama Soup.  This soup was thin but jammed packed with more items than my local grocery store even sells.  Every spoonful held an entirely different offering, from vegetables to beans to meat.  It was a masterpiece.  This Chili Soup recipe is based solely on that experience.  Add everything and anything you can find in your fridge and your cupboards to some broth and make your tummy happy.  I would have called it stone soup, but then I’d feel a little guilty when I ate it all myself.

I generally chop vegetables into giant hunks for most of my cooking because I don’t love spending more time on anything than I have to and I don’t own a food processor, but I would suggest dicing up whatever you throw into this soup fairly small.   The whole idea is that you want every mouthful to be a little different and you want the soup to be light and brothy.  Otherwise you’d just be making chili, not Chili Soup.


For this edition, from the fridge I used some celery, carrots, an onion, pepper, potato and zucchini – any vegetables are a welcome addition.  I also added ground beef, but meat is definitely optional and not missed if you don’t use any.

From the cupboard, I used barley, kidney beans, mini diced tomatoes and some tomato paste I used to flavour a broth.  A can of mixed beans is the best.  The Soup Guy used various beans and some corn too which I try to include when I make this if I have any on hand.

The soup is completely flavourful on its own, but I like to add a bit of chili seasoning for something different.

Get out a big soup pot and start browning your meat in it.  I leave my stove on medium as I continue to add things to the pot.  I only turn it down to a simmer once everything is added to the pot.

As your meat browns, chop an onion, throw it in the pot.  Give everything a stir.

Add the next item, maybe celery, give everything a stir.

Next I added peppers, stirred.

Carrots.  Stir.  I’m sure you are getting the hang of this now!

Here’s the zucchini.

And the potato.

The barley.  Barley is awesome in any soup.

The kidney beans.  Again, I’d suggest going with a can of mixed beans instead.  And don’t waste the liquid in the can down the sink drain, add it all to the soup.

Get the thick bean residue from the bottom of the can into the soup too by adding some water to the can and swishing it around until it all comes out.

Mini diced tomatoes, I have no idea why I purchased you in the first place, but into the pot!

Add more water (use a now emptied can or two) and the tomato paste.

Once the whole pot is semi boiling, turn your stove down to a simmer.  This is when you’d add the chili seasoning if you want to.

Allow to simmer for maybe an hour or so to allow all the flavours to mingle.

Serve with some nice crusty bread.

All the homeyness of chili, but lighter on the tummy. Jump up.


From → Soups

  1. Rebecca Chalmers permalink

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