I can’t call this true Cincinnati chili for a couple of reasons. First of all, I just can’t bring myself to pile that much cheese on top of my chili (Exhibit A from our visit to Skyline Chili). And instead of cheddar – I like to use Colby Jack because it’s my fav. And finally, both Christopher and I like kidney beans so I go ahead and cook them in the chili instead of adding them on top. So as you can see, this isn’t truly Cincinnati Chili. But the flavors and spices are definitely inspired by it. I’ve been using this recipe from What’s Cooking America for several years and it has come out well every time I’ve made it.
Cincinnati Inspired Chili
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans
1 (16 oz) package spaghetti noodles
Optional Toppings: Shredded Cheddar (or Colby Jack!) Cheese, Oyster Crackers, and/or Chopped Onion.
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute onion, ground beef, garlic, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked.
2. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, unsweetened cocoa, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. When the chili is about 20 minutes from being finished, begin to boil water for spaghetti. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving plates (small oval plates are traditional).
4. Top spaghetti noodles with chili and cheese (as well as other additional toppings if desired).
I love that Cincinnati chili is served over spaghetti noodles. We eat regular chili over pasta sometimes so that’s just feels like home to us. And I love how the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and allspice mingle together with the traditional chili spices to make such an awesome combination. Those sweet spices may not seem like they should belong in chili, but somehow Cincinnati chili just makes it work! 🙂
Have you had Cincinnati Chili?