Thursday, December 2, 2010
Cincinnati-style chili is an enduring American classic that I first tasted in the Cincinnati airport while on a business trip. Whether prepared two-way (chili over spaghetti), three-way (with cheese), four-way (with onions), or five-way (with a finishing flourish of kidney beans) it's an interesting twist on both chili and spaghetti.
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons granular garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 dried bay leaf
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water*
4 cups finely grated cheddar cheese (optional)
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (optional)
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed under hot water and drained (optional)
3/4 pound dried spaghetti
1. In a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium-high heat bring oil to the ripple stage. Add garlic and half of the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5–6 minutes.
2. Add beef and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown. Add the chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, oregano, nutmeg, celery seed, bay leaf, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes. Tilt skillet and spoon out and discard any accumulated fat.
3. Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, and water; bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until somewhat thick*, about 25 minutes.
4. For a two-way, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 6-8 minutes; drain.
5. Meanwhile, for a four way, heat beans in a small pot and cook over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until hot throughout.
6. Divide spaghetti between 4 large bowls. For a two-way, top each bowl of spaghetti with 1/4 of the chili; for a three-way, top with cheese; for a four-way top each bowl with some of the remaining onions; and for a five-way top with beans. Serve hot, with oyster crackers on the side.
*additional water can be added if chili is too "tight"