This is a special tasting recipe, especially with a chipotle chile. It gets rave reviews when I serve it to company. I do like to add extra ham, which I brown first for a deeper flavor. When I make this for just myself I usually use 2 cans of pinto beans, but the flavor suffers a little bit. I also mash some of the beans for a thicker broth. (Sometimes I just add 1/3 cup canned refried beans, which also does the trick.) To make up for the extra meat and beans, I add a tad more of each of the seasonings.
I thought this was quite good and flavorful. I, only, added a little water, so mine did not come out too thin. I did not use the chili. I substituted ground chipotle powder, so it did not turn out too spicy. It was a great use of leftover ham.
I Made half this recipe for my husband and I. A very tasty and quite simple soup. I did not add the water and it didn't need it. I used 1/2 of a chipotle chile in adobo and that was plenty to kick it up. The ham steak I bought was 6 ounces so I used it all. I also added all of 3/4 can of diced tomatoes that I had in the freezer.
Tried this for the first time based on reviews -- it is a good recipe -- easy (although takes several hours to cook) filling and healthy. It makes a big pot of soup. I also used a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce -- just chopped it and added, because I always have them in the freezer. When I bring for lunch I add a 1/2 cup of cooked spinach for a complete meal.