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. ;)
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