Lennie's Chili, Finally Written Down

Recipe by Lennie
READY IN: 2hrs 20mins




  • First off, I have one thing to say about spices: I am not about to tell you how to season your chili; what you see here is what I do, but please adjust the spicing to suit your own tastes, whether you want to tone it down or spice it up.
  • Also, for the past couple of years, I have been using Penzeys medium-hot chili powder; if there's a Penzeys store near you or you order over the Internet from them, I highly recommend that blend.
  • To make the chili, you'll need a large heavy pot, like a Dutch oven.
  • Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in the pot and add the onion; saute for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and mushrooms; saute for a couple more minutes.
  • Next, crumble the beef into the pot and stir well--the idea here is not to completely brown the beef, just take away the raw colour.
  • While beef is cooking, sprinkle with 1 tbsp of the chili powder; stir well.
  • After the beef has lost the raw red colour, spoon out any fat should you feel you need to.
  • Take one of the tins of drained tomatoes and dump into the pot, using a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes into chunks.
  • Take the other tin of drained tomatoes and squeeze the tomatoes with your hand, to crush them; add these crushed tomatoes to the pot and combine well.
  • Stir in the well-drained kidney beans.
  • In a small bowl, using a fork or a small whisk, combine the brown sugar, flour and cocoa; set aside.
  • In a large measuring cup, stir together the tomato sauce and tomato paste, then stir or whisk in the cocoa mixture; when combined, add this mixture to the pot and stir well.
  • Now add the remaining 4 tbsp chili powder, oregano, cumin (if using, sometimes I leave it out), salt and pepper; stir well.
  • Let mixture start to bubble furiously, then turn the heat way down; after it's simmered for about 15 minutes, taste it; add more spices if you wish.
  • Let chili simmer, uncovered, for at least one hour, stirring occasionally (longer is better; best is to make it the day before you want it and let it simmer some more on the second day).
  • If you find it is cooking down too much or getting too thick for your tastes (this is not a thin chili), add some water or, even better, beef broth; best is a slug of beer should you happen to have some (I often don't).
  • Before serving, make sure you taste the chili and adjust the seasonings as required; I often find it needs more salt.
  • I serve this with sour cream on the table and usually some chopped raw green onion and shredded cheddar, plus a side of cornbread or cornbread muffins.