Cincinnati Chili
Cincinnati Chili
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Authentic Cincinnati Chili is a meaty, rich, and uniquely spiced chili from (you guessed it!) Cincinnati, Ohio. It's served over hot spaghetti with your choice of toppings. Don’t forget the cheese and oyster crackers!

INGREDIENTS

For the chili:

  • 2 pounds ground beef (80:20 is good)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 large onion, minced (about 3 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, optional

Options for serving:

  • Oyster crackers
  • Finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can small red kidney beans, drained and warmed
  • Minced yellow onion
  • Hot cooked spaghetti

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the tomato paste: Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste to the dry pot and cook, constantly scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until the tomato smells rich and toasty and you start to see browned (not burned) patches in the bottom of the pot. This should take 1 to 3 minutes.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a pot: Remove the pot from heat and add the ground beef and water. Mix them together into a sludge. It will not look pretty, but press on. There's a method to this madness. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring all the while, so the sludge breaks up into a mealy paste. Add all the remaining ingredients except the vinegar and chocolate.
  3. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours: Stir the chili often. You want the volume to reduce a bit. (To be honest, just one hour of cook time is okay, but for optimal chili-ness, go long.) Right at the end of your cooking time, add the vinegar and optional chocolate.
  4. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight: Cool the chili to room temperature, then cover the pot and refrigerate overnight.
  5. De-fat the chili: The next day, lift or scrape off any solidified fat from the top of the chili and discard.
  6. Warm and serve: Bring to a rapid simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Serve in a bowl, over a hot dog, or on a plate in any of the "ways" below.
    • 2-Way: Over spaghetti.
    • 3-Way: Over spaghetti with finely shredded cheddar cheese.
    • 4-Way: Over spaghetti with diced onions and finely shredded cheddar cheese.
    • 5-Way: Over spaghetti with warmed canned red kidney beans, diced onions, and finely shredded cheddar cheese.

The chili will also keep refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 year.

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