My favorite cold weather soup is home made chili. It is simple and can be adapted to what I have on hand. If I don't have meat, it is vegetarian. I use pinto or Anasazi beans because they just taste right. Here is my basic recipe.

Put 5 cups of dry beans--pinto or Anasazi in a pot and cover to 2 inches above the beans with cold water. Soak overnight. Next morning, pour the soak water off and refill pot with water or broth to 2 inches about the beans. (I live at a high altitude, so my cooking times are longer). Cook on low for 8-10 hours until the beans are soft and can be mashed. I don't add salt until I add the meat and seasoning.

Use either cooked hamburger (I cook onions with my burger because my husband cannot eat raw onion) or left-over shredded meat of any kind--about a pound or whatever you have. If you have not added onion with meat, add about 1 cup chopped onion. I throw in diced green chilies (not jalapenos, but green Anaheim chilies), chili powder (the best is made from Hatch red chilies) to taste. Add about 2 teaspoons salt or to taste. If I have it, I add 2 C tomato sauce, but it is fine without it. Simmer for about 15 minutes more so the flavors blend. Serve with tortillas. We put shredded cheese and a tablespoon of cider vinegar on a bowl of chili.


This is also my comfort food. I have made it with kidney beans when I couldn't get pintos, but we are from southwestern Colorado where they grow pintos and when we visit, we buy a hundred pounds, so I'm never without pintos now. If your beans are old, they will take longer to cook.