Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cincinnati-Style Chili

I'm going to go on record as saying that this is Rosie Hawthorne's fault. But not to worry, Rosie, for as you like to say, it's all good.
When my daughter found out that Rosie was making chili and blogging about it, the daughter immediately asked, "Is she making it with beans?"

"Yes," I answered.

"Oh," the daughter replied dejectedly. "I don't like beans. Did she make it with cinnamon and chocolate?"
"No," I responded.
"Mommmmmmy, would you make Cincinnati Chili for us? Please?" the dear daughter asked, the puppy eyes turned up full volume.
What was I to do? "Of course I'll make Cincinnati Chili for you. I just need to find a recipe for it."
Not to worry, as an Internet search revealed several versions of this Midwestern specialty. I settled on a recipe that seemed to be true to the ideal. A trip to the grocery store secured the two ingredients I needed and then I was ready to go.

The ingredients for Cincinnati-Style Chili are:

1 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder or 1/2 oz. grated unsweetened chocolate

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

After using my mortar and pestle to grind the cumin seed, I added that to the ground cinnamon, ground allspice, cayenne pepper and salt.

First of all, I must point out that I heeded the advice from one of the reviewers of the recipe who pointed out that onions are not used in the sauce. However, after reading the ingredient lists on the canned chili that I have in the pantry, I found onion to be listed in both sauces. I believe that I will add some grated onion to the sauce the next time I make this recipe.
And now, on with the show. Following the directions, I browned the ground beef along with the grated garlic and chili powder. Talk about opening up your sinuses! Wonderful.
The ground beef in traditional Cincinnati-Style Chili is typically very finely chopped, so I used a potato masher to break down the meat.

Next, the remaining spices and cocoa powder were added to the pan.

Then the tomato sauce was poured in before the Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar and water were added.

The mixture was stirred before simmering over low heat for 1-1/2 hours.

I wish you could smell this. The cocoa blends with the cinnamon and cumin to create a smoky, exotic aroma.

I admit that I keep cans of Cincinnati-Style Chili on hand for quick weekend lunches. But today I have the real stuff on hand.

Here are some of the traditional toppings for the chili. Additional toppings are oyster crackers and kidney beans.

And now, here is your lesson on the proper ordering lingo for Cincinnati-Style Chili.
A One-Way is just the chili sauce.
A Two-Way (shown above) is the sauce over cooked spaghetti.

A Three-Way is with sauce, spaghetti and shredded cheddar cheese.

A Four-Way is sauce, spaghetti, shredded cheddar cheese and diced onion.
A Five-Way includes kidney beans.
The chili, onion and cheese can also be used to top a hot dog for a Cincinnati-Style Chili Dog sandwich.

I chose to eat a Four-Way with my salad.
This was delicious. The cocoa and the cumin play off of each other and together with the chili powder, create a nice flavor chord.
The best part is that I have some left over for tomorrow's lunch. Score!


Kathy said...

Aha! I would love this since I always put cinnamon & chocolate in my chili. I also put in diced sweet potato, as I like the bit of sweetness with the spice. And chipotle. Heck, you read my post. I just love the stuff.

And thank you for not putting in green peppers. I can NOT eat those things, they do bad things to my insides.

MrsVJW said...

You should really check out the America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Country version. So simple, and the hubby has had Cincinnati chili and said it was pretty darned close (even without chocolate).

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Oh my. Now I'm getting pre-contest jitters. (The crock pot cook off is Saturday.) And now you've got me second-guessing my chili.