Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cincinnati Chili

One of my future projects is to organize my recipes - besides my cookbooks and online food blogs and ideas floating around in my head, there's this (pitiful) stack of recipes that Jeremy and I have. Newspaper clippings, printings from allrecipes.com, handwritten ones on scraps of paper and napkins. I do have an accordion file where my most favorite (usually handwritten) ones reside, but they're still difficult to find and I refuse to keep filing the newer ones away using such an unfortunate system. Sigh! The trials of perfectionism. Too many times it holds a finished product at arm's length. If anyone can help me, it would be much obliged.

I've never even tried quite a few of these stragglers. I remember one time that I made a completely terrible, sodium-laden beef and broccoli stir-fry using one of these random recipes - and with great relief, I just threw the recipe away afterwards. Jeremy cheered me on. The recipe had no redeeming qualities...nothing that made me say, "Almost! I'll keep tweaking."

After church this past Sunday, though, I tested out a recipe for Cincinnati Chili that was plucked from this unsightly stack of recipes. It will surely go into the special saved file, whenever I figure out my system. It was really very good - and different from any chili we've ever had, due to the combination of spices. Sure it had chili powder, but what intrigued me was the unsweetened cocoa, the allspice, the cinnamon. Right down my alley, I tell you. And chili served on top of pasta?? Unheard of! We had to check it out.

Now, I don't know all that much about Cincinnati chili in general - I'd heard the name of it before, but that's about it. And this recipe was submitted to the publication from someone who lives in Massachusetts. Figures. Unless there's a Cincinnati in Massachusetts...hmmm....

Dana, my Ohio reader, you'll have to let me know if this recipe is legit. ;)

Cincinnati Chili
Serves 4-6

1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 c. diced red (purple) onion
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
1-2 cans (15 oz. each) tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. water
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt, to taste (depending on sodium content of tomato sauce)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice (or a little ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
dry pasta, cooked according to package directions (our favorite is angel hair)
1 (15-oz.) can red kidney beans, heated
chopped onion, for garnishing
shredded cheddar cheese, for garnishing

Crumble beef into a large, non-stick skillet, cooking over medium-high heat. Brown beef and add diced onion halfway through. Mix in pressed garlic, tomato sauce (starting with one can), water, cocoa, chili powder, salt, allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Taste the balance of spices - I felt it was too tame so I added more. Then it got a tad too spicy - never fear, though! Just add more tomato sauce - I added another half can of it because it seemed the sauce was too thin also.

Simmer with skillet uncovered for about 1 hour. To serve, ladle sauce over cooked pasta. To finish it off, add kidney beans, more onion, and cheese. Or just add the kidney beans to the meat mixture. I'm not sure why it's a "topping." Either way, enjoy!

Adapted from the American Profile magazine found in our newspaper


  1. This is what they serve in the Skyline Chili chain of restaurants, without the beans - my favorite version! LWB

  2. I'm always looking for new recipes. I'll have to try this and see if it's a keeper in the Thompson house!!

  3. When we moved to indiana when I was in middle school every restaurant we went to served chili with noodles under it. It is strange and I'm pretty sure I have never been brave enough to try it, but this sounds delicious and might have jump over that hurdle very soon!! As far as organizing recipes...I'm not the woman to talk to :). Mine are everywhere!

  4. I love this chili recipe. I am going to make this recipe Friday!

  5. This takes me back to the first time I tried Cincinnati Chili. Not being an Ohio native, the idea of chili over spaghetti with cheese on top just seemed weird to me. The preacher's daughter, Jenny, had me over for dinner one night and they served this with oyster crackers. It would be years later that the addiction set in and now I love Skyline and GoldStar Chili restaurants. Every Red's game, I eat coney dogs from Skyline....it's tradition. Can't wait to see if a Southerner's recipe compares to the real deal!

  6. Mmmm... That sounds so good! This is the perfect season for chili, too!

    I'd like a picture of that stack o' recipes. I don't believe that you're that "unorganized." Nice to know you're a real girl, too! Ha.

  7. This reminds me of home. I do not like the chili there but it was what we are most famous for. Everyone loves Cinci Chili.

  8. Kristen,
    Thanks for visiting On Crooked Creek today! Stop by again soon, dear. The life and happenings are constantly changing!

  9. yum.. I know what im making tonight!

  10. Yum.... I'm your newest follower. http://moogieland.blogspot.com/

  11. I've never tried this version of Chili, it has always intrigued me. I've always thought I should try that, but then never do...might have to give your recipe a try, it looks fabulous : D

  12. Wow! This recipe appeals to a wide variety of people! Everyone was coming out of the woodwork. =) Let me know if any of you make it!!


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