This Cincinnati Chili is so delicious, you just might lick your plate (like I did).
Recently I asked my Facebook friends to tell me what recipes they’d like to see on SGE. I enjoyed the responses (except I’m handing all the vegan ones to my mom, guys) because they showed the tastes of my friends and how unique they were. Chuck, for example, asked for Cincinnati Chili. This dude loves Skyline Chili so much, he mentions it in his twitter bio.
Out of all of the responses, Cincinnati Chili was the one I was most excited about trying. I’ve had Skyline Chili several times (there’s one on Michigan Road near 86th street in a little strip mall), once even IN Cincinnati, and each time I’ve been more than satisfied. While I don’t compare my version to theirs exactly, the concept is the same.
The characteristics of Cincinnati Chili are as such:
- Flavor – seasoned with cinnamon, cocoa powder, allspice, cloves, nutmeg
- Texture – beans aren’t welcome here (unless you get a 5-way, see below)
- Serving – served over cooked spaghetti or hot dogs
- Consistency – thin, not thick
(This is my disclosure saying I didn’t grow up in Cincinnati so those who have, feel free to comment with your version of Cincinnati Chili).
To break it down further, Cincinnati Chili is offered in these five different ways:
- Bowl: chili in a bowl (which is cool for those of you who didn’t grow up with noodles in your chili)
- Two-way: spaghetti + chili
- Three-way: spaghetti + chili + cheese
- Four-way: spaghetti + chili + cheese + onions
- Five-way: spaghetti + chili + cheese + onions + beans
- Four-way bean: spaghetti + chili + cheese + beans (no onions)
Side note, I grew up eating chili with elbow mac. My dad would make a peanut butter sandwich to eat with his chili, and as I grew up I would do it, too. Sometimes I would even dip it IN the chili. I know, hardcore right? But thankfully Facebook told me that others do this, too.
If you’re asking are all of those spices essential? The answer is yes. Cocoa powder and cinnamon were key, though I’ve seen recipes that don’t use allspice, cloves or nutmeg or they use them in different combinations. I also saw a few recipes that used water (up to a quart), but why use water when you can use flavorful beef broth? My version does have one full teaspoon of cayenne pepper, so there’s definitely a kick to it.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder*
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
- 2 cups beef broth
In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high. Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes until onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Brown the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon. Once browned, drain grease and return beef to the pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Let the chili come to a boil, then cover and simmer for at least one hour. Mine simmered for three hours because I was home. The longer you let it cook, the better.
When you’re ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook some spaghetti per package directions. Plate the spaghetti and spoon the chili on top. Add shredded cheese, diced onions, and beans if you like. Save the leftovers – it’s even better the next day.