October 4, 2011

Meatless Monday: Shirley's Southwest Chili Soup

Yes, it's Tuesday.  Better late than never, right?

I had planned to post this recipe last night for Meatless Monday, but then I decided that testing out my new three-tiered cooling racks was a better idea. The fact that testing them involved baking these amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies played no part in the decisionmaking. I promise. However, I can't say I regret the decision :)

More delicious than blogging.

Anyways, on to the post! My maternal grandmother is a pretty amazing woman.  She's in her 80s and super active and healthy.  One of her favorite pastimes is cooking.  In fact, at her 80th birthday party several years ago, she insisted on making almost all of the food herself.  I have a lot of vivid memories of food that my grandma prepared for my sister and me as children.  Some were more complex, some were as simple as melted havarti cheese with scallions on a baguette.  I love visiting my grandma because she always has new things for me to try.

My grandma has lived in a lot of places in the U.S. throughout her life, but she's spent a considerable amount of time in Arizona.  She loves Mexican and Tex-Mex food and in addition to making enchiladas, tostadas and burritos, makes her own salsa and enchilada sauce.

MG and I went to visit her in May of this year and one of the things she prepared for us was her Southwest Chili Soup.  Texans will probably be offended that the word "chili" even appears in the title, so as a disclaimer, no, this is not chili.  First, it doesn't have any meat or even fake meat.  Second, it has beans, which purists say don't belong in chili.  Third, it's soup.  It's the consistency of soup.  But while it may not be chili, it is a hearty, warm and filling meal that has all the flavors and goodness of a bowl of vegetarian chili.

My grandma has this recipe written on an index card and she copied it out onto an index card which is now in my recipe binder, so if there is an original source, I have no idea what it is.  I've also added corn to the recipe, because I love corn.

All the ingredients (also my multivitamins. Nice phototaking skills, Esther)

Since May I've made this three or four times, which is impressive because I generally am too distracted by new recipes such that I rarely make the same recipe more than a couple of times a year.

NB: my grandma's recipe calls for sherry at the end.  She told me that this was her addition and insisted that I put it in because it makes it "so much better." (My grandma channels Julia Child from time to time). Obviously this is completely optional, but if you don't have a problem with putting sherry in, I do think it gives the soup a little something extra.

The hard stuff.

Grandma Shirley's Southwest Chili Soup
Probably originally adapted from a magazine, somewhere...

Serves 4-6.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small can diced green chiles
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 and 3/4 cup vegetable broth (or use Better than Boullion with equal amount water)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained (I prefer using the fire-roasted variety)
1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn (or fresh if it's in season!)
1/3 cup sherry
cayenne pepper, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven at medium heat.  Add onion, chiles, chili powder, cumin and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender.

Add broth and tomatoes.  Heat to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add beans and corn, cook 5 minutes longer or until hot. Add sherry and simmer for an additional 3 minutes. Finally, season with cayenne, salt and pepper.


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