There is nothing better for a cold day then chili. I started with thawing and browning some hamburger patties we had bought and had seasoning we didn't quite care for in burgers, but the smoky flavor is perfect in this chili.
After browning the burger (about 2.5 lbs worth, I was making a lot of chili) I added 1/2 a large onion, chopped and a good 2 heaping teaspoons of chopped garlic. I then added some Rocco's Southern Style Chili Mix seasoning my aunt had sent me a while back. I didn't use the whole package as I have to watch how hot and spicy things are for hubby's sake. I let the spices bloom over the heat with the meat mix and then added a heaping tablespoon of beef soup base and 2 cups of water. I let it all simmer for about 10 minutes and then transfered the mix to my slow cooker.
I set my slow cooker to auto (starts high and after an hour or two, switches to low heat). I then sorted and washed 2 and a bit cups of brown lentils and added them to the slow cooker. I then added enough water to bring the level almost to the top.
After letting the chili cook for a while, I added some powdered tomato and a small can of tomato sauce. You could use a 15 oz can of tomato sauce or a couple small cans of tomato paste.
I added a bit of salt for taste and just let it simmer for the day. and hour or so before dinner I took the lid off to let the steam out so the liquid could reduce a bit.
For dinner I dished it up and served it with cheese sprinkled on top.
It did need something, so I added about a 1/4-1/3 of a cup of dutch processed cocoa powder to the chili in the cooker and let it simmer some more. The cocoa powdered added a nice flavor.