Okay, it isn't really chili because it has no chili powder in it. Or tomatoes. Or green chilies. (Those are all part of the nightshade family, which I'm allergic to.) But it's a good enough version to replace it. It works great in a crockpot, too.
Use fresh squash or pumpkin in this soup. The canned pumpkin is too fine of a puree. I like to bake pumpkins after Halloween, then freeze the flesh in old whipped topping bowls. It keeps for months and is really easy to just chuck into soups like these. No need for thawing, just add an extra 30-60 minutes to the cook time. You can also use baked sweet potatoes, butternut squash (no need to pre-cook), or other yellow-orange flesh winter squash like acorn, hubbard, turban, banana, etc. I should do a whole post on squash...
We found a lovely Stripetti squash at the store the other day. It's a cross between delicata and spaghetti squash. My daughter had some as noodles, then we threw the rest into this soup. Tasty stuff.
To bake squash or pumpkin, slice it in half and scoop out the seeds. Large pumpkins may need to be sliced smaller, depending on how big the pumpkin is and how much your oven can handle. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add 1-2 T. butter and 1/4 c. water to each half, just drop it into the center hole where the seeds were. I usually skip this with the pumpkin because it's usually larger and cut into flatter pieces. Cover the squash loosely with foil, mostly to keep it moist. Bake at 375-400°F for 1-2 hours, until it is easily pierced with a fork. Spaghetti squash should easily flake into strands.
Pull it out and let it cool, then scoop the flesh off the rind. You should have plenty of delicious squash flesh for use in pies, muffins, custards, or soups like this one.
Nightshade-Free Chili Soup
2 c. dried pinto beans
5 c. water
5 c. water
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 c. cooked spaghetti squash or fresh pumpkin (not canned pumpkin)
1 c. cooked, crumbled hamburger
2 t. salt
2 t. oregano
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. cumin
1 t. celery seed
Rinse off the beans, then place in a 3-qt saucepan with the 5 c. water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let them sit for about an hour.
Drain beans. Rinse several times. Add 5 c. fresh water to the saucepan, bring to a boil.
Dump pan of beans with the water into a 4-qt crockpot or slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Remove lid and give it a good stir. Add more salt, pepper, or cumin to taste. Cover and continue to cook for another 2-4 hours, until soup is thick and beans are tender.
Serve hot with plenty of sour cream, shredded cheese, or whatever you like to top your chili with. Half my family, the half that can eat tomatoes and peppers, added salsa to their soup.