Is it a chili? Is a gyros-style stew? Or is it something in-between? With this soup, it’s hard to tell. Its origins date back to a couple of years ago, when an acquaintance from college made a soup similar to this one and called it “gyros soup”. While this is hardly a traditional Greek soup nor a meal that aims to resemble the taste of gyros to the last bit, it has touches of both the Greek speciality and a classic chili.
I mean, it does have big, fat soy chunks and spices like cumin, garlic, and paprika that would do well in any Greek meal. And it has kidney beans, bell pepper, corn, and a tomato base that is typical of a chili. Adding soy cream and chunks of kale takes it in a different direction, though.
But let’s not talk about what this soup is not. Let’s talk about what it is: hearty, creamy, and simply delicious. It’s also a soup that classifies as ‘comfort food’. I’ve made this time and again over the years, which speaks for itself (especially considering how much I love trying out new recipes instead of making the same meals over and over again).
This recipe is only mildly hot, but it depends on the chili powder you use. To amp up its spiciness, you can also add finely sliced jalapeño or the chili of your choice.
Creamy Kinda Chili
- 2 cups soy TVP chunks
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 red onions, finely diced or cut into thin strips
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minces
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons chili powder mix
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 28 oz. can tomatoes and their juices
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 14 oz. can kidney beans
- 1/2 cup corn (preferably fresh)
- 1/2 cup soy cream
- 4 cups kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1. Put the soy chunks in a bowl and cover them with boiling hot water. Make sure to add enough water so the chunks can expand. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron pan on medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil and the soy chunks. Fry from all sides for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chunks are nicely browned from all side.
3. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and lightly browned.
4. Add garlic, spices, and the bay leaf. Sauté for about a minute, stirring often and careful not to burn the spices.
5. Transfer to a bigger pot or keep using your large pan. Add tomatoes and their juices, vegetable broth, beans, and corn. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
6. Add the soy cream, kale, and lime juice. Taste for salt. That’s it!