Chuckwagon Soup (Chili Vegetable)
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
It’s time for #SoupSwappers again and for December we are talking about soups that have made memories. And while many of those I have shared already (ones my Mom loved to make) I did think of this one, a Chuckwagon soup which is a riff off chili and vegetable beef soup.
This kind of thing was served at the Bonanza near my house when I was a teenager living around St. Louis. I had a friend who was working as a hostess there, and sometimes I’d go over and eat while I waited for her to get off work. And this would be on the huge food bar. And sometimes I would eat with family there as well. I recall when Bill and I first met, he liked the Waldorf salad they had, which I have copied from time to time.
But this takes me back to thinking about so many places that used to be, since Bonanza isn’t really around anymore, although there is a Ponderosa in Springdale Ohio. And maybe the steaks they had weren’t top of the line, but I sort of think of them as the Applebees or McDonalds of steakhouses, good for an ordinary weekday. Besides, teenagers don’t have much money to spend on steak.
Around Cahokia, where I lived, there were quite a few places we used to like to go. Antonio’s Pizza, Burt’s Chuck Wagon, and Lee Lam’s House of Lam down on Rte. 3 that he eventually managed to burn down. He was fond of cigars. I bet he had one lit somewhere and forgot about it.
Over on the St. Louis side, there were a number of favorites as well, like Hunan Cafe out on Hampton Avenue, and Imo’s Pizza with their unique provol cheese. And Old Mexico down on Tesson Ferry Road.
Today everyone is crazy about the soups from Panera, which started in St. Louis as the St. Louis Bread Company. That was after I had moved away so I didn’t really get into them. I do like some of their things, but can be critical of their soup.
Some of the best soups I have had have been at some of these Mom and Pop Chinese restaurants with traditional menus that offer meal sized soups, and of course, just about any Vietnamese place with steaming bowls of pho. I could eat those all winter long and the winter soup season is really getting on top of us.
And occasionally I will come across a new place with a soup I like that I will say “Hey! I want to make that at home!”
I hope this winter offers up that kind of cooking inspiration. It makes the stuff of memories and also adds to my repertoire of soups I will be serving for supper. And lunch. Because I can eat soup, anytime, any season. And if I have a quart or two of it in the fridge, you can pretty much bet it will be in my bowl the next meal. It is pure comfort, any soup, any style.
And I hope this soup is pure comfort for you. It brings me much comfort and many memories. Retro and homestyle, but damn good at that.
Chuckwagon Soup (Chili Vegetable)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 pound creamer potatoes, diced
- 1 pound frozen mixed vegetables
- 2 (10 ounce each) cans Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, undrained
- 6 cups beef stock
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
- Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in a skillet and drain any fat.
- Place beef mixture in a slow cooker with all remaining ingredients and stir.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until potatoes are tender.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
Thanks for the Memories!
Be sure to check out the other Soup Saturday Swappers Bloggers this month!
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