Monday, January 18, 2016

Cincinnati Chili, Starving Artists in the Kitchen Style


Traditionally,  Cincinnati Chili is served over spaghetti, but since we're wheat-free we act like barbarians and skip that layer.  There are any number of recipes and approaches, some juicier, some thicker, some using different ingredients, but cinnamon and chocolate are constants.

My friend Ann Emmert Abbott says in Cincinnati you pick which restaurant to go to depending on which variant you're hungry for!

So here's my version, put together to taste and from several different recipes...let me know if there's anything YOU consider absolutely essential.


            3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or high quality light)
            2 finely chopped onions
            4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
            3 pounds ground beef (or lamb, bison, or venison–we had grass fed beef)
            1 T. Sea salt, more or less, to taste
            2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
            2 tablespoons chili powder (Joseph makes his own, the recipe is in this post.)
            1 ½ teaspoons cumin (more or less to taste.  I probably put 1 ½ tablespoons instead)
            1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
            1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon
            1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (more or less, to taste)
            1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (couldn’t find mine so J. ground fresh...)
            2 tablespoons cocoa powder or finely chopped, unsweetened baker's chocolate
            1 teaspoon paprika  (I used smoked...)
            1 tablespoon dried oregano (we had organic Mexican)
            1 tablespoon organic sugar (or brown sugar)    (optional)   
            1 can organic cup tomato sauce
            1 can organic diced tomatoes (or your own, if you have them)   
            2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
            1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce       

Top with grated cheese of your choice–cheddar, Parmesan, 4-cheese, goat cheese, whatever...and raw chopped onions if you like.
Many recipes call for beans, but I skip them because of the lectins.  I gave up wheat 4 years ago and never looked back–just felt so much better!–but lots of people DO consider it blasphemy if you don't serve this over spaghetti.


I decided to finish this in the crock pot, but if you prefer it can be a one-pot dinner.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and the garlic and cook until soft, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook the mixture, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, breaking up the large chunks.

I moved the cooked onions to the crock pot...

Break up the ground beef and cook till it's all brown...
We go for organic if we buy in the store...IF it's available!  Sometimes we have our own garden-grown stuff...

Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne and cloves. Cook, stirring, until fragrant. about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt.

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaf and 1 1/2 cups water–you can rinse out the tomato can and use that. simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thicker. Add the chocolate, vinegar and Worcestershire and cook until the mixture is thickened but still soupy, about 15 more minutes.

Hershey's was fine, but I would use the fancier organic stuff if I had it...

At this point I transferred everything to the crock pot, covered it and put it on low heat for a few hours.

To serve, discard the bay leaf and season the chili with the freshly ground pepper. Top with cheese and chopped onion.

We don't eat wheat, so J. made zucchini noodles to put under the chili.  Darn good, and no, it is NOT blasphemy!  Besides we keep trying to eat more vegetables...

Topped with a 4-cheese blend and plain yogurt instead of sour cream...absolutely delicious.
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