Homemade Cincinnati Chili Recipe
Just What is Cincinnati Chili?
Cincinnati-style chili, a creation of Macedonian immigrants in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a unique type of chili that differs from other types in several ways. First, the meat is boiled rather than being sautéed. Next, the spice mixture used includes several unusual additions such as cinnamon, cocoa powder and Worcestershire sauce. Finally, and most notably, Cincinnati Chili is traditionally served over spaghetti. The resulting dish is a culinary masterpiece of Greek-American fusion, combining a traditional Greek stew with classic American flavors to create a new and unique dish. To folks who aren’t familiar with this dish, chili on top of spaghetti sounds pretty weird—but I would urge you to keep an open mind. Odd though it sounds, Cincinnati-style chili is absolutely delicious!
Cincinnati Chili Recipe
Despite the long list of ingredients and relatively long cook time, this recipe is deceptively simple to make. There are essentially only three steps: boil the meat, add the remaining ingredients and simmer. The resulting dish is extremely versatile and can be served in a number of different, and delicious, ways.
- Place the water and ground beef into a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to break the ground beef into small pieces. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir well to combine. Simmer the mixture on low heat, uncovered for about 3 hours. Stir periodically, and add more water if the chili becomes too thick.
- Once the cooking time is completed, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place the chili in the refrigerator overnight (or at least for a couple hours). To serve the chili, skim the fat from the top and then reheat on the stove over medium heat.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 4 cups water
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 Tbs cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 whole bay leaf
How to Serve Traditional Cincinnati Chili
Spaghetti topped with chili
Spaghetti topped with chili & cheese
Spaghetti topped with chili, cheese & onions
Spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, onions & beans
Traditional Cincinnati Chili: 5 Way
|Serving size: 200 g|
|Calories from Fat||72|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 8 g||12%|
|Saturated fat 3 g||15%|
|Carbohydrates 9 g||3%|
|Sugar 4 g|
|Fiber 3 g||12%|
|Protein 36 g||72%|
|Cholesterol 101 mg||34%|
|Sodium 726 mg||30%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Although Cincinnati Chili is not known for its health benefits (quite the opposite, in fact!), it is surprisingly high in vitamins and minerals, including: Iron, Selenium, B6, B12 and Zinc.
Furthermore, when eaten without the traditional additions of spaghetti and copious amounts of cheese, Cincinnati Chili is also low in calories (less that 300 calories per serving!), low in carbohydrates and high in protein. So even if you are dieting, you can feel free to eat up without feeling guilty!
Tip: Serve Cincinnati Chili with beans, onions, and a modest sprinkling of low-fat cheese, and you've got a healthy and satisfying meal!
The Cheese Coney
The History of Cincinnati Chili
The Flavors of Cincinnati Chili
Cincinnati Chili features many spices that are common to the Mediterranean region, and its various cuisines, from Greece to the Middle East and North Africa.
Exotic spice combinations such as cumin, allspice, cinnamon and cocoa powder may seem like a strange addition to chili--a traditionally Tex-Mex dish. However, the seasoning palates of Mexico and the Mediterranean are actually surprisingly similar due to the influence of early explorers from throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region in Mexico. These early cross-cultural experiences influenced the cuisines of both areas of the world, thus making the recombination of these flavors a perfect match in this dish!