Cincinnati Chili from Cleveland

I was first introduced to chili on spaghetti in the sixth grade. The new girl from school invited me to her house for supper.  They had just moved to Winfield from Cleveland, and when her Mom served this, she said they ate chili on spaghetti all the time in Ohio.  I’m a Kansas girl and had never heard of chili with anything but crackers.  Later in life, I learned that German Mennonites love chili with cinnamon rolls, and lots of other folks eat it with cornbread, which is now our tradition.  By the way, the recipe calls for chopped raw onions as a garnish, but if that’s a little too strong, just use sliced green onions.

2 Tablespn olive oil                                  1 c. chopped onion (1 large)                  2 cloves of garlic minced

1 lb. ground beef                                       1 lb. ground lamb (frankly, I just use 2 lbs. beef)

2 Tablespn cocoa                                      2 Tablespn chili powder                         1  teaspn ground cumin

1/4 teaspn ground coriander                  1/4 teaspn cinnamon                             1/4 teaspn ground allspice

1/4 teaspn ground cardomom                1 20-oz can chopped tomatoes             2 tablespn tomato paste

2 tablespn red wine vinegar                    2 tablespn honey (or brown sugar)      salt and pepper to your taste

1 pound linguine, or long macaroni       2 16-oounce cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

4 oz grated Monterey Jack cheese         chopped onion for topping.

In a big pot, cook the onions in the oil til soft, about 10 minutes (did i say low heat?). Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes more.  Add meat, raise the heat and cook til the meat is brown, crumble it up as it cooks.  Drain grease.  Add cocoa and spices; coo and stir for about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste, the vinegar and the honey. Add the beans.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Salt and pepper as you like it.  While the chili cooks, boil some water and cook the linguine. (or spaghetti) Serve the chili atop the noodles, garnished with cheese and onions.   This ought to serve 6, but maybe just four.

Remember that chili is what you make it; use the seasoning measurements as a starting place.  The combination of spices in this chili is characteristic of the Greeks who have a large community in Cincinnati, and from whom i think we get this recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *