Did you know that Cincinnati Ohio has their OWN chili? They even have restaurants dedicated to this chili, called "Skyline Chili." I wish I could recommend that you go eat at one of these little diners the next time you are in Ohio but...from my experience, nothing beats homemade "Three-Way/ Cincinnati/ Skyline" Chili.
The reason is is called "Three-Way" is that you eat this chili on top of spaghetti and topped with cheese (Three components). There is also Four-Way (add beans) and Five-Way (add raw, diced onions). But the Arpke family always loved "Three-Way" the best.
My dad makes the best Three-Way ever. In fact, I used to say that I wanted to eat this chili at my wedding. Considering my nick-name was "Slop-Slop" while growing up, it is a good thing that I chose NOT to eat this in my wedding dress when I got married.
The thing is, my current Meng family doesn't LIKE "Three-Way." It was too spicy for them and the spaghetti was just weird to my husband (Psh, husband!).
So this recipe is a "Nod"to Cincinnati Chili. There are a few secret spices that make me think of my dad's chili but otherwise, it is just an absolutely delicious (non-spicy!) meat, beans, and tomato chili.
Or, as I have been told at a potluck I took this chili to: "This is the best chili I have ever eaten!"
So here it is: My "Nod to Cincinnati Chili"
1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 lb sausage (breakfast? Sage? spicy Italian? your choice!)
3-4 cloves of garlic (minced) (or a heaping tablespoon from a jar of minced garlic)
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans petite diced tomatoes, not drained
2 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
5 cups water
Spices: (here's where it gets special)
|Magic Spices (not pictured: Brown Sugar).|
3 TB Chili powder
3 TB brown sugar
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa power*
1 tsp cinnamon*
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp seasoning salt
1-2 bay leaves
See those stars above? It's the cinnamon and cocoa powder that give this chili the Cincinnati kick! If you want to make this chili with a packet of Chili seasoning from the store, go ahead! But don't forget the cinnamon and cocoa powder (and a bit of brown sugar!)
Make it! (start early in the afternoon so your chili can simmer away for a few hours)
Brown meat and onions in a large skillet over medium/high heat (or you can use your soup pot. I just find that it is easier to cook the meat in skillet). Drain fat and dump into a large soup pot. Key word: large.
Over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add beans, tomato products, and water. Stir.
Add spices in a small bowl and mix until combined. Or just dump them in the pot. I just like the step of stirring all the spices together and then pouring such a delightful mixture into the pot.
This is where the magic happens. Your chili will turn from a tomato-red to a deep, dark, delicious, chili red. The cocoa powder is the key here to such a rich, dark color.
Bring your chili to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cock a lid over the chili, allowing a vent and simmer that baby for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Your chili should get nice and thick. Before serving taste and adjust salt if needed.
|My chili is simmering away on the stove. See that deep color? Mmm!|
Enjoy the way your house smells all afternoon as you breathe in the heavenly scents.
Serve your chili plain or, the way I like it: topped with sour cream, shredded cheddar-jack cheese, and a handful of fritos.