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"The first zucchini I ever saw I killed it with a hoe."--John Gould, Monstrous Depravity, 1963

Cincinnati Chili (America's Test Kitchen) Recipe

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This recipe for Cincinnati Chili (America's Test Kitchen), by , is from Bowman Family Favorites, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Lindsay Merrill


2 tsp table salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 lbs 80% lean ground beef (chuck)
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 tsp)
2 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 1//2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
Hot sauce to taste

1 lb spaghetti, cooked, drained, and tossed with 2 Tbs butter
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed, and warmed
1 medium onion, chopped

1. Bring 2 quarts water and 1 tsp of salt to a boil in a large saucepan. (Note: a 4 qt saucepan is too small to use for the entire recipe. I use a 6 qt dutch oven). Add the ground beef, stirring vigorously to separate the meat into individual strands. As soon as the foam from the meat rises to the top (about 30 seconds), and before the water resumes boiling, drain the meat into a strainer and set it aside. (This step is necessary to remove a great deal of fat and grease from the meat-- there's no other effective way to do it once the meat is incorporated in the sauce.)

2. Rinse and dry the empty saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is warm, add the onions (the 2 minced onions- not the one for serving) and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and browned around the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the spices (chili powder, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, black pepper, and 1 tsp salt). Cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant (30 more seconds). Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, water, vinegar, and sugar, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.

3. Add the blanched beef and increase the heat to high. As soon as the liquid boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chili is a deep red and has thickened slightly (about 1 hour). (Using a splatter screen on the top of your pan is wise. You can't cover it with a lid because you need it to reduce, but it may spurt and splatter a bit.) Season with salt and hot sauce to taste.

4. To serve, divide buttered spaghetti among individual bowls. Spoon the chili over the spaghetti and top with the cheese, beans, and onion.

Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
Cincinnati Chili is so unique and fun. When you order it at a restaurant in Cincinnati, you ask for it "two-way" (just spaghetti and chili) up to "five-way" (spaghetti, chili, cheese, beans, and onions). I like five-way best.

Don't be tempted to skip the step where you blanch the beef. It seems odd and messy, but the beef in this chili is so tender because it's cooked in the sauce-- there isn't a change to drain the grease before all the other ingredients are added. If you don't blanch the beef you will end up with a cloyingly greasy chili.




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