Yes. You read that right. Chili Soup.
It’s a simple, homey soup that is sure to warm you when it’s cold outside!
When I got married 38 years ago, I knew I was marrying an awesome man and marrying into a wonderful family. But I had no idea what delicious new recipes came along with them!
My mother had taught me to cook many things, but I had to learn a whole new vernacular to identify some of the foods my new husband was requesting. It was an adventure to be sure. I’m so grateful that my mother-in-law freely shared her recipes with me. And I have two sisters and four sisters-in-law who are wonderful cooks and share their recipes as well.
I feel so blessed!
One of the first new dishes I learned to make from Mom Worden was this Chili Soup recipe. It was a soup her mother made for her and her siblings when they were growing up. She, in turn, made it for her family. I’ve made it for mine, and our kids make it for theirs. The recipe lives on.
In a large, heavy saucepan (3 qt size) over medium heat, brown and drain 1 pound of ground beef. (I usually use lean ground beef for this.)
When beef is browned and drained (if necessary), sprinkle in 1 Tablespoon of chili powder and cook it a few minutes to let the chili powder release it’s flavor.
Then add one 16 oz can of dark red kidney beans. You can drain and rinse them before adding them to the beef if you like, but I usually don’t. Cook and stir the mixture a few minutes.
In the photo above left, you can see the beans are already in there when I added the chili powder. I had just dumped the beans in when I realized I’d forgotten the chili powder. Oops! I like to brown the chili a bit with the meat before adding the beans.
When the beef/bean mixture has cooked a few minutes, add 64 oz of tomato juice. It doesn’t matter which brand you choose just as long as it’s plain tomato juice and not a tomato/vegetable mixture. Most store-bought tomato juices already contain salt, so I don’t add it.
Continue cooking over medium heat until the soup begins to simmer. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 – 20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, cook and drain some spaghetti noodles according to the package directions. (Be sure to salt the boiling water before adding your noodles to cook.) I use thin spaghetti and cook a small handful of noodles. This is really just your preference. If you really like it noodley, use more. If you’re not a huge noodle fan, use less or just leave them out. It’s entirely up to you. Mom Worden said her mom always put noodles in, so she did too. They lived on a farm and worked hard, so she said she thinks her mom may have put them in to make the meal stretch farther and fill their tummies. No matter the reason, in go the noodles.
A word of caution. The noodles will continue to swell in the soup, so leftovers will seem even more noodley. Just FYI.
We like to eat ours with either a grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwich on the side. My husband likes to dunk his sandwich in his soup.
I have a confession to make. When I was documenting tonight’s meal, my husband asked if I was taking a photo of the soup with beans in it. I’m not a big fan of beans, so I pick the beans out of my bowl and put them in his. I’d just as soon leave the beans out entirely, but this is how he likes it. So I pick them out.