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Cincinnati Chili

1 pound chuck, ground fine (twice in a meat grinder)
2 medium onions, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup water
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 dry bay leaf, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt

Salt a large cast-iron skillet. Turn heat to medium and add meat,
onions, and garlic. Cook until all meat is browned. Add tomato
sauce, ketchup, water, and vinegar. As mixture begins to boil,
add everything else. Adjust spices to taste, adding more salt if
it needs perking up, tumeric and cumin for a sweatier chili flavor,
cinnamon, cloves, and mace if you want it sweeter, cardamom for
more bang, unsweetened chocolate for body.

Cover and simmer at very low heat for about 1 hour, stirring and
tasting occasionally, adding tomato juice if it is getting too dry
to ladle up easily.

Constructing the Chili

8 ounces thick spaghetti
1 pound Wisconsin Cheddar cheese, grated fine, as fluffy as you can make it
16-ounce can red kidney beans
2 onions, chopped

The bottom layer is always spaghetti, the thickest you can find.
In fact, we found none in our supermarket that was thick enough,
so we got perciatelli -- long, thin macaroni. We broke it into
4-inch pieces and boiled in salted water to which 2 tablespoons of
olive oil were added. For a touch of swank, melt a stick of butter
into the just-cooked noodles before you dish them out. You will
need about 2 to 3 ounces per serving. You want them soft enough
to cut with a fork, but not so soft they lose their oomph. Remember,
they are the support layer for four other ingredients. Spread them
out to cover the bottom of a small plate (preferably oval).

Next comes the chili. Ladle on enough to cover the noodles.

Kidney beans. One 16-ounce can. Wash, heat with 2 cups water,
then drain. Don't season them or do anything fancy, though.
They're here more for texture than for taste. Spoon a sparse layer
atop the chili.

Chopped onions. Spread them out, to taste, over the beans.

Quickly now, so it melts a bit, spread the grated cheese to cover
everything. Don't skip. Cheese should completely blanket the
plate, enough so that you can pat it into a neat mound with your
hands, just the way they do in Cincinnati.

You may, if desired, omit either the beans, or onions, or both,
for Three-Way or Four-Way Chili.


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Cincinnati Chili, November 4, 2005 - 02:19 PM
Reviewer: John from Cincinnati, OH
This version of the recipe has been floating around for a while - I found it on another website some years ago, and have seen it verbatim on a few other sites since. The only tedious part of making this chili is chopping the onions; measuring out the spices is the fun part. Everything is in the pot and simmering in about 20 minutes. While simmering, the chili fills the house with that famous aroma. I usually refrigerate it overnight and skim off the fat before I reheat it for serving. The chili comes out a deep ruddy brown, more similar to Gold Star than to the elusive Skyline. The flavor is mild but complex; very authentic. It makes terrific x-ways and coneys; also terrific plain in a bowl.

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