The Christmas season – it always gives me the warm fuzzies. I get to thinking about the greatest Christmas gift of all and childhood memories filled with our family traditions. And soon after, a wide smile spreads across my face and goosebumps cover my arms as I’m filled with nostalgia and overwhelmed with happiness.
Growing up, we always attended the Christmas Eve church service celebrating the true reason for the season, our savior Jesus Christ. Then we’d come home to enjoy our choice of oyster or chili soup for Christmas Eve supper. I always went with the chili because – beef, friend. But also, because one time I had a bad experience with the oyster soup… but we won’t get into that. Then we’d (reluctantly) slip off to sleep with full bellies and hearts, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa.
On Christmas morn, we were always greeted with stockings overflowing with goodies (mostly peanuts and fruit) a plate full of half-eaten cookies and a note from the St. Nick. We’d wait for my Dad to come home from chores (because cattle don’t take holidays and they need fed even on Christmas morning) before tearing into all the gifts under the tree.
But you know what…
I don’t remember all of the gifts that I received over the years. Not even close. What I do remember is the church, the soups, the cookies – I remember the traditions and our Savior.
Anyway, now that I’ve gotten a little mushy on you, the recipe for Christmas Eve Chili Soup is listed below. You know – just in case you’re looking for a brand new (and delicious) tradition to start with your family. And since I’ve shared some of our traditions with you, I’d love to hear about yours.
What foods do you eat? What activities do you do? How does your family celebrate Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year?
Don’t forget the rules of food safety! Here is the short list:
- Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat.
- Never thaw meat on the counter – instead thaw in the refrigerator, microwave or cool water bath.
- Always wash cutting boards and plates after having been in contact with raw meat.
- Always cook to appropriate internal temperatures. Safe internal temperatures vary based on cut. Hamburger must reach a safe and savory 160 degrees, while steak is safe at 140 degrees.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- Salt and pepper
- 2 quarts whole tomatoes
- 1 pint tomato juice
- 1-30 ounce can chili beans
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the onion and garlic, sauté until onion is fragrant and begins to become transparent. Add the ground beef to the skillet, break up into small pieces and brown for about 10 minutes or until the ground beef is no longer pink.
- Once ground beef is thoroughly cooked drain and return to skillet. I actually don’t drain my ground beef. I use a couple of paper towels to soak up excess grease, it makes for easier clean up and my beef never has to leave the pot.
- Season the ground beef mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the tomatoes, tomato juice, chili beans, and chili powder into the ground beef mixture and bring the soup to a boil. Once the soup has reached a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes before serving.
- If you're having supper after Christmas Eve church, simply put the soup in the CrockPot on low and serve (with a cinnamon roll) when you get home. Enjoy!