Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cincinnati Chili

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.  


  1. I've heard about serving chili over spaghetti but never actually tried it - I'll have to put it on the list for the next gray rainy day. I do like adding cinnamon and cocoa - poor man's mole :) I'll try your recipe - the other spices sound like they'd be good too.
    In west Texas, we used to dish the chili up over a pile of Fritos Corn Chips and called it 'Frito Pie' (not legit unless enunciated with a long drawl - Fureeeto Paaaahh). I made it for my visiting Texas relatives last weekend.

    1. Anne, once again we seemed to be connected in the food sense - I too love Frito Pie! This recipe makes a good size batch and freezes very well...for the next rainy day.

  2. I'm from Chicago and we always had "Chili Mac", chili served over macaroni noodles and of course with some cheese. My Dad always added a chopped green pepper to the pot along with most of the stuff in your recipe.

  3. 1/4 cup of ground allspice? Really? This recipe is very different from the chili I make, that's for sure. Might be interesting to try sometime.

  4. Many thanks QuiltinLibraryLady for catching that allspice mishap...the recipe should have read 1/4 teaspoon. You are correct in thinking that might be really interesting with a 1/4 cup. Yuck.

  5. I have loved the other recipes you have posted but I am alittle hesitant to try chili with cocoa powder, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. I trust your good recipes. (facial expression doesn't show that trust right now) LOL

    1. Believe it or not, those spices add a nice richness. Not being a native of Cincy I was a little skeptical at first. Now I am a convert.


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