Crazy Mary's Chili

"This chili is quick, easy, and not too hot. It is great for a middle-of-the-week family dinner served with sliced sourdough bread and salad. It originally was printed in Bon Appetit (December 1983) as a request for the chili served at Grandma's Saloon & Deli in Duluth, Minnesota."
photo by KateL photo by KateL
photo by KateL
Ready In:




  • Combine chili powder, salt and pepper in cup; set aside.
  • Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add mushrooms, onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is transparent (about 10 minutes).
  • Add ground beef and about 1/4 of chili powder mixture.
  • Cook, breaking up meat with fork, until browned.
  • Stir in remaining chili powder mixture, tomatoes, water, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Cover partially and simmer 15 minutes.
  • Add beans and simmer 10 more minutes.
  • Ladle chili into broiler proof serving bowls.
  • Sprinkle each serving with about 2 tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese.
  • Broil until cheese melts.
  • Top each with dollop of sour cream (optional).
  • Serve immediately.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Mirj2338
    Somebody is giving Mary a bad name, she's not crazy at all! This chili is certainly different then any other chili I've had before. It's got mushrooms in it, and it's really good. For religious reasons I left out the cheese and the sour cream. I served it with mashed potatoes, which really soaked up the sauciness of the dish. A plain Israeli salad on the side, and it was a great weekday meal.
  2. KateL
    DH liked this chili a lot even though he didn't expect too (he claims he doesn't like onions with beef (who is this man?)). It is slightly sweet. We liked the (3-y.o. white extra sharp cheddar) cheese broiled on top of the chili, but none of my bowls were "ok" for that, so I crossed my fingers and nothing cracked. I see onion-soup-tureen shopping on my horizon. Quite enjoyable, not spicy. Made for Rookie Recipe Tag.
  3. Sydney Mike
    A different chili that I usually serve, for sure, & wonderfully flavorful in its own right! Followed your recipe on down with but one exception! My other half loves mushrooms, but I only really like them raw, so I did a slight compromise & added the sliced, fresh mushrooms just before topping it all with the cheese, so the 'rooms really didn't cook much in the time it took for the cheese to melt, & I was very happy with it all! Definitely worth making again! Thanks for sharing the recipe! [Tagged & made in Please Review My Recipe]
  4. ltdsaloon16r
    This is a great recipe, love the added mushrooms and celery. I halved the amount of tomatoes as it was looking like it would be too runny. I also replaced the sugar with splenda and only used 1 Tbsp of chili as my family dont like too much 'heat' I really like beans in my chili so used 2 was delicious, thanks for sharing. Mary isnt so crazy..shes pretty switched on in my book!
  5. Karen1961
    It was good but I initially found it a little bland so I increased the seasoning. Like any good chili, it was definitely better the second day.


<p>I love cooking and trying different foods, but my favorite cookbooks are now Weight Watchers or low fat/low cal cookbooks as I tend to try and make low fat/low cal recipes. I lost over 90 pounds on Weight Watchers and have maintained for over a year now -- so my cooking/eating habits have changed drastically following my weight loss and to keep it off!</p>
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