Lapsang Souchong Chili

Some chilis are very straight forward with beef or turkey, beans, chili powder, cumin, sometimes tomatoes, sometimes not.  Some chilis have ingredients that make you go hmmm.  Coffee.  Cocoa powder.  Beer.  Well this chili has tea.

What am I nuts?

Bear with me.  This is not made with your grocery store variety Liptons (I mean EW).  Those who know me are aware that I am a tea snob.  I don’t drink bagged tea.  The loose stuff is infinitely better.  And there is so much variety out there beyond the boring Earl Gray or Celeyon.  One of those is a fascinating tea called lapsang souchong.  From Wikipedia:

Lapsang souchong (拉普山小種/正山小种) is a black tea originally from the Wuyi region of the Chinese province of Fujian. It is sometimes referred to as smoked tea (熏茶). Lapsang is distinctive from all other types of tea because lapsang leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires, taking on a distinctive smoky flavour.

The name in Fukienese means “smoky variety” or more correctly “smoky sub-variety.” Lapsang souchong is a member of the Wuyi Bohea family of teas. The story goes that the tea was created during the Qing era when the passage of armies delayed the annual drying of the tea leaves in the Wuyi hills. Eager to satisfy demand, the tea producers sped up the drying process by having their workers dry the tea leaves over fires made from local pines.

The woman who sold me the tea actually told a story relating to camel sweat, but I won’t scare you away.  There is no camel sweat in the modern lapsang souchong tea.  She also said that she more often cooks with the tea than drinks it, and I was intrigued enough to buy a sample.  What you will notice the moment you open the bag is the lovely and very obviously smoky scent of the tea.  I’ve been dying to try it in chili. Well the end result was very interesting.  I loved it.  I’m really intrigued by all the layers of smokey flavor.  My husband prefers more traditional chili.  Eh, win some, lose some.  If you’re looking for something different to try, this is it.  And while you’re at it, go check out the other entries at this week’s Souper Sundays over at Kahakai Kitchen.


  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 3 chipotle chili peppers in adobo, minced (devein and deseed them first if you’re not into spicy)
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2 cups of black beans
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon mexican oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 12 oz. lapsang souchong tea (about 1 teaspoon of leaves steeped for 4-5 minutes)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon masa flour
  • 1/3 cup water


  1. Brown your turkey.
  2. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add the chipotle peppers and adobo.
  4. Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, paprika, and garlic.
  5. Sautee for another minute or so.
  6. Add the tea, using it to deglaze the pan.
  7. Pour this mixture into a larger stock pot.
  8. Add the 1 cup of water, the black beans, the tomatoes, and the tomato paste.  Mix well.
  9. Simmer, covered, on medium for approximately 20 minutes.
  10. Mix the masa flour in about a 1/3 cup of water and stir until smooth.
  11. Add this mixture to the chili, stirring well.
  12. Simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes.
  13. Serve with cheddar or monterey jack cheeses and sour cream.

Printable version.

Lapsang Souchong Chili on Foodista

4 thoughts on “Lapsang Souchong Chili

  1. I’ve cooked with Lapsang Souchong before–marinated and poached chicken and made a faux smoky cheese but never thought about it in chili–it looks and sounds amazing. Let me know if you want to submit it to Souper Sundays this week.



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