Introduction: Chilli Beef Soup With Pasta Shells

My mum used to make us this cheap, filling and spicy soup quite regularly. I now use it as a quick dinner on a cold evening or a warming light lunch.

I can't actually remember her exact recipe, but it's always nice to experiment and get things how you like them. Also I probably have a very different store cupboard to her, so I'll see what I can create. You should experiment too and get things just how you like them.

Step 1: Ingredients

  • 1-2 Onions
  • 250g Minced beef (good steak mince)
  • 1-2 Carrots
  • 1 stalk Celery
  • Some Roasted Peppers ( i use some from a jar for speed)
  • Handful Pasta shells/whatever pasta you like really but one that helps pick up the soup's a good idea
  • 900ml Beef Stock (either homemade or stock cubes)
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic or a dollop of Garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree/paste
  • 1 Fresh Chilli, chopped seeds in or out depending how hot you want it
  • small handful fresh Coriander
  • 1tsp Chilli powder, tsp Cumin and 1/2tsp cinnamon (or your own personal chilli spice mix)
  • a dash of Balsamic vinegar
  • Vegetable oil and butter for frying

Step 2: Method Part 1, the Frying Bit

  1. In a large pot heat a little oil and butter together.
  2. Add the mince and fry it on a high heat, we want this to be well browned to create maximum flavour. We're trying to achieve the Maillard reaction to get that nice carmelised flavour to the meat. Try to break the meat up as you stir it, you want small bits so it mingles with the pasta easily.
  3. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar to help de-glaze the pan and put the cooked meat on a seperate bowl, we'll add it again later. Make sure to scrape all the brown bit from the bottom of the pan when de-glazing, this is part of the flavour and the balsamic will help lift it away.

Step 3: Method Part 2, the Soupy Bit

  1. In the original pan we're now going to add a little more butter and oil, get this hot and fry the onion until it starts to soften
  2. Add the garlic, carrot, celery and fresh chilli, stir to mix
  3. Add the chilli spices, stir to encorporate releasing the fragances and then add the tomato puree
  4. Return the mince to the pan, stir it all together then add the stock.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes of so for the flavours to develop and carrots to cook.
  6. once the vegetables are softened add the pasta and the roasted pepper I also add the stalks from the coriander
  7. once the pasta has cooked, about 15 minutes, add the fresh coriander and serve

I've sometimes added some chopped tomatoes with the stock to make a thicker, more chilli type of soup. Sometimes I run out of chopped tomatoes though or just want it a bit more like the original. I quite like the thin healthy style with the pasta to help fill you up.

Feel free to experiement, maybe you could try adding some beans and curly kale for more veggie goodness.
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