Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

I think it probably goes without saying that children growing up in Texas aren’t terribly familiar with that other chili from Ohio. You know, the one with beans. And pasta. And chocolate. Frankly, I’d never even heard of it until adulthood.

But, I do love me some chili, and though this version breaks many rules of the original from Texas, I have to admit I’ve been a bit intrigued. And so last weekend it became high time I give it a try.

Cincinnati chili
The verdict? I have to say, it’s pretty delicious! Definitely different from Texas, or even New Mexican chili; it is what it is, and I kinda loved it. It’s hearty, rich, cheesy, and you can play around with the spice level as you please. I’d eat it again (actually I just did, some leftovers for lunch).

Cincinnati Chili

As a complete aside, I do not feel like myself today, I’ve been struggling with a head cold the past week. I have a persistent, dry, hacking cough. Nothing remotely serious, of course, but it’s driving me batty! I’m ready to scream! But of course I don’t because that would make the cough worse. Does anyone have any foolproof tricks or home remedies for taming this beast? I’m all ears. So far I’m just using over the counter cough syrups, which taste beyond nasty, and they only help so much. Thanks you guys!

Cincinnati Chili

{One year ago: Pumpkin Muffins, Almond Pancakes, and Chocolate Anise Biscotti}

Source: adapted from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

1 tbs olive oil
2 ¼ lbs. ground sirloin
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tbs ancho chile powder
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs brown sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
1 lb. spaghetti
8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the ground sirloin. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon or potato masher, until the meat is browned and no traces of pink remain. Add three quarters of the chopped onion and the jalapeno, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Lower the heat to medium, and add the ancho, cocoa powder, paprika, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
Raise the heat back to medium-high and pour in the beer. Stir, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the beer has mostly evaporated.
Add the Worcestershire, tomato puree, and beans. stir to combine, then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the flavors have married and the chili has thickened somewhat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom.
When the chili is ready, turn the heat to low, and cover until needed.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well, and toss in a large mixing bowl with some olive oil to prevent clumping.
To serve, mound some spaghetti onto a plate. Top with chili, then with a generous handful of cheese, then sprinkle on some of the reserved chopped onion.

4 responses to “Cincinnati Chili

  1. Julie,
    I am not from Ohio, but I live here right now, and I need to point out one thing to you (and Rachael Ray). The beans DO NOT go into the chili!
    If you have a 3 Way (um, in Cincinnati Chili Speak) you’re having a pile of spaghetti topped with chili and cheese. If you have a 4 Way you add chopped onion OR red kidney beans (just canned/drained/rinsed). If you have a 5 Way (my favorite) you top your spaghetti and chili with beans, onions, and cheese. And serve with oyster crackers on the side for soaking up the last of the sauce on the plate.
    Looks delicious, even if slightly inauthentic, Julie. Thanks!

    • Texan New Yorker

      That is all very confusing, I think I will just go back to Texas, lol!

      So technically I made a 4 way because the kidney beans are there, but I should have put the beans on top of the chili? Wouldn’t they just get stirred in as you ate it? I’ll have to try this chili in its native land sometime…

      Thanks for the education, Kirsten! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: Cocoa Streusel Topped Cranberry Coffee Cake | The Texan New Yorker

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