2 years before starting this blog, I began keeping a journal of the food I made. I included brief recipes written in shorthand along with sources for the recipes and our impressions. Basically I was working my way up to being brave enough to start this blog. (On an interesting sidenote John always claimed I would not stick with that journal and even though I obviously have only in blog form he still likes to tease me that he always knew I would quit.)
The point being, I have a lot of recipes that I love that have never made their way onto this blog because I think of them as “having been done.” Which is true, but not particularly relevant because no one but me will ever reference that journal–and I cannot find the recipes that easily anyway. So I think I am going to start looking through that journal when I search for recipes to make. It will be an interesting journey back in time as well as a great source for recipes that I already know were a success
in this house with this family.
One such recipe, that I made right before I started keeping the journal, but I remember loving but forget that it is not already on my blog is Cincinnati Chili. Growing up, I was always very disturbed by Cincinnati Chili, I think not just because it is sweet but because many of the standard fast food places that serve it are, ahem, rather on the greasy side.
But then I tried making my own. And discovered it was a lot like a Middle Eastern stew (I was just told it is Greek in origin, so I was not too far off). Rather like ladling a kheema over noodles. If I stopped expecting it to be chili and just expected it to be good, I discovered it really is. Quite good. Spicy, slightly sweet, rich and fragrant with cinnamon, this is a fantastic meal any time of year, but especially in the fall or winter.
The first time I made this recipe I think I used a Sara Moulton recipe, but I have no idea where it is anymore. So instead I adapted from the recipe over at What’s Cookin’, Chicago (I did not change too much), which was originally taken from Cook’s Illustrated. And yes I, like Joelen, know that the beans are usually served as a garnish. But we love beans in this house so I just cooked them into the chili.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 6-8 cloves garlic minced
- 4 t ancho chile powder
- 2 t New Mexico chile powder
- to taste cayenne
- 2 t natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 t dried Mexican oregano
- 1/2 t allspice
- 1/2 t cloves
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t ground black pepper
- 28 oz can crushed fired roasted tomatoes preferably Muir Glen
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup (more or less as needed) water
- 2 T cider vinegar
- to taste brown sugar or honey
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans rinsed and drained (I used frozen homemade)
- cooked spaghetti
- chopped red onion for garnish I soak mine in water for about 30 minutes first so they do not bug my stomach
- shredded cheddar cheese for garnish
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and saute until looking translucent. Add the meat with a pinch of salt and continue to saute, breaking the meat up as you stir.
Once the meat is browned, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the spices. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, vinegar and brown sugar or honey. Stir in and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat, covered. After a bit, maybe 20 minutes, check to see if you want the water added, and add it to your preference. Simmer until the chili is rich, deep red and minutes before serving, add the beans. Taste for sugar, salt and pepper.
Serve ladled over the noodles, garnished with the cheese and onions on top.