Cold weather and waking up to frost on the ground brings out the desire for warm comfort food. And, yes, we consider chili comfort food. Betsy grew up in Cincinnati on the famous local chili made by home-grown institutions like Skyline and Gold Star Chili. Sorry to all you Texans who love your chunky meaty bold chili but this is a whole different breed made with cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice and other chili goodies. Cincinnati style chili is no longer confined to the Queen City as you can get it through the mail in many different forms like canned, in a microwaveable bowl, or as a spice packet (thanks to Bruce and Mary for our packet) and all you do is add ground meat. No Cincinnati chili dinner is complete without being served hot sauce and oyster crackers on the side.
My desire to chop, stir, and taste led me to make my own version. Here is the recipe that works for me and pleases the taste buds of the Cincinnati girl.
1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (29 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup water (use less for thicker consistency)
1 ½ tablespoons Worchester sauce
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tablespoon instant bouillon granules
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
In a large heavy saucepan (or Dutch oven) cook ground beef until done. Drain fat. In the same pan, add onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour. (Tip: for thicker chili remove the lid and simmer uncovered to desired consistency.)
Serve the chili over cooked spaghetti and topped with a mound of grated cheddar cheese and red kidney beans.