Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cincinnati Chili

Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili 5of5Image by Food Thinkers via Flickr
I spent a few years living in Cincinnati where I discovered their regional favorite - Cincinnati Chili. I did a bit of research and found that it's been around since 1922, when it was created by Macedoian restaurateurs. They started serving their unusual chili sauce from a hotdog stand next to a burlesque theater. (Information from Wikepedia.)
If you are expecting Texas-style beef and tomato chili, you are in for a surprise. What makes this chili so different is the spices. It has a touch of cinnamon and chocolate. Definitely different huh? It's also usually eaten over spaghetti and piled high with cheese, onions, and beans. It's a good hearty meal with a little different twist.

Cincinnati Chili
2 T. vegetable oil
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chili powder
2 T. paprika
1-1/2 t. cumin
1 t. allspice
1/2 t. coriander
1-1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. ground cloves
1-1/2 lb. ground beef chuck
Kosher salt
 1-6 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 T. chopped unsweetened chocolate
1 T. cider or red wine vinegar
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
ground pepper
12 oz. cooked spaghetti
1-19 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb. grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped onion
Oyster crackers, for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and half the onions. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes until soft. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and cloves. Combine and continue cooking 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add about 1 T.  salt.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaf and 1-1/2 cups water. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thicker. Add  chocolate, vinegar and Worcestershire. Cook until the thickened but still soupy, about 15 more minutes.
Discard the bay leaf and season with the freshly ground pepper. Divide the spaghetti among bowls and add desired toppings. Serve with the oyster crackers. Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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