Recipes for Cold, Drunk Days
by Branden Hart

It finally happened. After sweating through a high of eighty-two degrees on Tuesday, a cold front finally hit us here in San Antonio. Which means that soup season has officially hit my kitchen. I love soups, stews, anything you make, and then heat up for about two hours. I love cooking food that takes a long time to cook (just asked my friends who were over the time I smoked a brisket for 17 hours). And one of my favorite things to cook is chili. So today, I give you a recipe for chili, and a recipe for taco soup.

Aunt Susie's Taco Soup

There's only one way I can describe my great-Aunt Susie—she was a kickass woman. She didn't take shit from anyone. She was an incredibly strong woman, and she loved her family. She also loved cooking for them, and I'm so glad I have this recipe as part of her legacy.


1 lb. ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

2 15-oz. cans hominy

2 15-oz. cans pinto beans

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

1 15-oz. whole kernel corn

1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (the kind that calls for buttermilk)

1 pkg. taco seasoning

2 cloves garlic

First—brown that meat. Throw in onions or bell peppers to add some extra flavor. Once it's done, drain it well, and set it aside. Then mix all the other ingredients together. Next, put everything in a pot and add at least 2 cups of water—more if you want some extra juice. Simmer for an hour and you're done. We'll usually throw in cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips, and a lot of people love it with avocado.

This recipe was first published in the cookbook Come to the Table that my mom wrote for our church when I was growing up. She worked her ass off to get this book together, and she included many family recipes that I'm always glad to have. When you're cooking a recipe that was invented by your blood over one hundred years ago, it is a truly humbling event. Which is why I love the next recipe—my chili—which my mom taught me how to make.

Branden's Blow-out-your-ass Chili

My mom once told me that unless you are just a plain bad cook, it's very difficult to make bad chili. Just go get a pack of chili spices—my favorite is Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili Kit—and it tells you all the ingredients you MUST have to make chili. That's the easy, boring part. The fun part is making your own variations of the chili. Here's mine.


1 pack of Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm Chili Kit

2 pounds coarse ground beefpopup-chili.gif

1-8 oz. can tomato sauce

2-8 oz. cans water

2 large onions

2 jalapenos

1 habanero pepper

1 red or green bell pepper

salt and pepper (to be used at your discretion to taste)

Frito chips

Sliced cheese

Sour cream

It's so simple, and so good. First brown the meat. Throw in a diced onion and the bell pepper. Get it good and brown and drain it. habenero_1w.jpgThen follow the instructions on whatever packet of chili mix you get about adding spice. Most chili kits come with masa and red pepper, which don't get added in right at the beginning. Regardless, now is the time to throw in all of your ingredients except for the jalapenos and habaneros. You'll get the solution simmering and let it go for about 20 minutes. Then put in the jalapenos and habaneros. You can do whatever you want with the jalapenos—cut them up, put them in whole, whatever—but be very careful with the habenero. Don't cut it up, don't touch the skin if you can avoid it. And if you can't, don't touch anything on your body until you wash your hands. Habaneros are among the hottest peppers in the world. They have an oily skin, and you get that oil on your hands and then inadvertenly scratch your eye, you will regret it for about half a day. So what you want this pepper to do is just sit and simmer, because aside from their spicy attributes, habaneros have a delicious taste. Now, you'll let this solution simmer for another fifty minutes or so, and depending on your chili kit, you'll have a masa solution to mix in at one point. You can also add navy or pinto beans, but I'm from Texas and would get my ass kicked for pulling shit like that.

Serve it then with the cheese and the Fritos, and add some sour cream if you need to take the edge off the righteous spice that habanero will give the dish.

These are both dream dishes for me on a cold day I want to spend inside, cooking and drinking beer. What are some of yours? Please remember, "Booze" is not a recipe (though it is delicious as an appetizer or compliment to your entrée. Or as dessert).

Uber still thinks that booze is somewhere in the food pyramid. It's just hidden



I do want to say thank you to you guys for all the recipes you give us.

The chili will be made tomorrow.

cause i think tonight is hamburger helper night


you hornin in on my fuckin recipe action? I WILL CUT YOUR FACE.

Seriously, though, sounds tasty.


I have a dream.

that one day all the reciepe writers on FTTW will sit at the table of brotherhood and be able to get along..

i have a dream.


dream on.


All I know is that there are three things every chili should have:

Hot fucking peppers

If you have those things in the mix, you cannot go wrong.

But how do y'all feel about bean in your chili? Are you pro or con?


Going against my Texas roots, I'm a fan of beans in the chili Cullen. I just think it adds an interesting texture, and the more material you have to soak up the flavor, the better.


I've never had chili without beans. Having a hard time comprehending.


I used to be adamantly anti-bean, but have grown more tolerant as I've aged.


We're making a modified version of this tonight, sans beans.


Black beans and pinto beans are OK. Kidney beans are NOT chili friendly.


I was just saying to turtle that next time I make chili, I'll use black beans. They rule.

We had chili tonight, but we used a mix we got at the grocery store. Was not hot enough. Much rooster sauce ensued.


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