Crockpot Cincinnati Chili
by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Since moving to Cincinnati from Dayton Ohio a couple months ago, I have been eager to post about one of my favorite hometown foods: Cincinnati chili. I have been making it for years as well as noshing on 5-way chili when we go out to any of our favorite chili establishments here. This week I am celebrating hometown favorite foods, and I am quite pleased to bring you this recipe, which I know you will enjoy.
Now that said, this is a chili that will put every Texan over the edge when the subject of chili is brought up. And we here in the ‘Nati are fully aware of it, and cannot help but wonder what has our Texas friends so uptight and defensive about it. We do know how proud they are of their chili. But guess what? Natives of the ‘Nati are proud as well. 😉
This, after all, is not a typical chili, but one born of Greek flavors and sensibilities. It is not meant to taste like a Texas bowl of red, not meant to be compared. They are two quite different animals, and each deserves to be taken on their own merit. And as Mediterranean-come-Middle Eastern food is concerned, Cincinnati chili tastes exactly right. Each chili for its own purpose and place, and nobody need feel threatened that one will displace the other. The world, as we know it, chili lovers, needs all the chili we can muster!
Cincinnati chili was born in the ‘Nati, made by an immigrant from Kastoria Greece who came to the city and subsequently worked as a cook at Empress Chili, a long time Cincinnati establishment. At some point, Nicholas Lambrinides, the immigrant, opened his own restaurant serving chili using the recipe he developed that reflected his Greek culinary heritage, That restaurant, Skyline Chili, was so named because it was located on a ridge that overlooked the city of Cincinnati, which rolls with scattered hills near the Ohio river, near Kentucky and Indiana.
Since that time, in 1949, the chili has been oft duplicated (even by myself right here) and enjoyed by many.
There are many ways to serve Cincinnati chili, as I am sure you have heard. There is the 3-way, 4-way, 5-way, and now even a 6-way (following Guy Fieri’s visit to Blue Ash chili for his show Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives, which tops the spaghetti with another final ingredient: deep-fried jalapeno pepper rings). But I will sum the ways up for you here, so you can enjoy this any way you wish:
3-Way: Chili, cheese and spaghetti
4-Way: a 3-Way with onions or beans added
5-Way: a 4-way with onions and beans
6-Way: a 5-way with topped with crispy jalapeno coins
Here in the ‘Nati we don’t even stop there. Try Cincinnati chili inside a tortilla to make a burrito, on top of a loaded baked potato, on top of Coney dogs, on French fries for chili-cheese fries, over omelets or hash browns at breakfast, or simply in a bowl without the noodles altogether.
And to top all of it off, serve any of this with the traditional oyster crackers and Franks hot sauce for the full effect.
Whichever way you like it, I am sure you will enjoy this recipe, even if you’re a down home Texan. (if you’d just give it a try!)
Crockpot Cincinnati Chili
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon mild paprika
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 28 fluid ounces tomato puree
- 1-1/2 cups beef broth
- 16 ounces thin spaghetti or vermicelli, cooked and drained
- 2 cups dark red kidney beans
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
- oyster crackers (optional)
- Frank’s hot pepper sauce (optional)
- Brown beef in a skillet with the onion, celery, red bell pepper, and garlic until cooked and crumbly; drain off any excess fat.
- Place meat into the crock.
- Stir together the chili powder, sugar, paprika, cocoa, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, salt, pepper, cloves and ground red pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over meat in the crock.
- Add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, and beef broth to the crock and stir until mixed.
- Cover crock and cook on low for 8 hours, skimming off fat as it rises to the top and stirring occasionally.
- Serve chili on a bed of spaghetti with desired toppings or other presentation you choose.
- Serve with oyster crackers and hot sauce if you like.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
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