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McClellan: Cold weather chili, soup

By Barbara McClellan
Jan. 3, 2018 at 4 a.m.


Do you remember last summer (and lots of summers) before when I said, "Kitchen closed. Too hot to cook!" Well, I am singing a very different tune this week.

I think it is definitely the time to cook.

I am especially thinking of soups and stews now that we have finally finished off (or frozen) the Christmas leftovers.

The first recipe I am going to share with you is one that my husband Joe made in November (when it was 80 degrees), and we liked it very much.

Its name is misleading, but we voted it a recipe that is a keeper. It is a vegetable chili, but not in the sense that we Texans think of chili. We thought it was even better the second day after the seasonings all intensified. Here it is, and I hope when Joe reads how much I am bragging on it, he will go straight to the kitchen and make another batch of it.

Four-Bean Vegetable Chili

  • 3 tablespoons oil

  • 2 large onions, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, diced

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, finely chopped, with their juice

  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

  • 6 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced

  • 2 green peppers, cored and diced

  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans

  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans

  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chick peas)

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans

  • 1 medium zucchini, diced

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Rinse and drain all beans. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 10 minutes. Sprinkle in chili powder, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and blend well. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then add the carrots and green peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally until the carrots are tender or about 30 minutes.

Add beans and zucchini; cook about 10 more minutes. If too thin, cook a little longer. If too thick, add a little more water. Add butter just before serving. Makes 6-8 large servings.

The next is an unusual creamy chicken soup.

Creamy Chicken Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 small onion

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 3 medium carrots cut in 1/4-inch slices

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken

  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup milk (see note about milk and flour)

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cut into cubes

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, carrots and potatoes, and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add chicken, parsley, salt and pepper, and heat thoroughly.

In small bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth and add to soup mixture, stirring in well. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and cook, stirring, until cream cheese is melted. Makes 7-8 servings.

Note: An easy way to mix flour or cornstarch and milk is to put the milk in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the flour or cornstarch and shake vigorously until flour (or cornstarch) is mixed well with the milk.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist and has written three self-published cookbooks. Her column appears in the News-Journal's Taste section each Wednesday. Write her at bayrm12@gmail.com or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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