A Tale of Two Cities
…or something like that. Let’s get to know each other better. Fun fact #1- I am not a pure bred Cincinnatian. No sir, in fact I have lived in five different cities before settling down here in the Queen City. Since moving to Cincinnati I have noticed many differences. From phrases to accents (deny it if you will but ya’ll have accents down here…) and even the food! One such difference that is painfully obvious is the chili. Growing up, chili was a hardy meal usually served with crackers or even tortilla chips you could even throw in some corn bread if you really wanted to go crazy. Cincinnati Chili is an animal all its own. For example, you don’t order a bowl of chili, you got to get it served sandwiched between a heaping pile of noodles and a towering mound of cheese. So much cheese. While I have grown accustomed to this saucy version I have done some tweeking of my own to a recipe that is quite the crowd pleaser no matter if you live in Cincinnati or Alaska (they make their chili with buffalo meat)! Let’s start with the meat. First you begin with sautéing one chopped onion in some olive oil. Once they start to turn brown add your ground beef. I’m a big fan of the 80/20 variety.
When the meat looks like this it’s time to spice things up a bit! The major players in this dish are Cumin, Oregano, and Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Yes, I did say Cocoa Powder…trust me it’s delicious!
Once the meat mixture is prepped add it to a large dutch oven (or a slow cooker if you’d like) along with refried beans, kidney beans, chili beans, and tomato juice. Stir together and let it simmer on the stove for about 2 hours.
Serve in a bowl topped with scallions, cheese and a dollop of sour cream. I even have grown to love a sprinkle of crumbled corn muffins on top for an added texture. You could also serve this on top of hot dogs with cheese, on top of spaghetti with cheese, or even plain on a bun with cheese…so much cheese!
- 1 Lg. Onion chopped
- 2lbs ground beef
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
- Lg Can of Tomato Juice
- 2 cans chili beans
- 2 cans refried beans
- 2 cans dark red kidney beans
- In a skillet over medium-high heat add some olive oil and sauté the onions until soft and just turning to brown. Add the ground beef to the skillet. When the beef is almost all browned add the oregano, cumin and cocoa powder. Mix everything together and take off the heat.
- In a dutch oven or slow cooker add the meat and spice mixture. Stir in the tomato juice, chili beans, refried beans, and kidney beans. Cook in the pot or slow cooker for at least 2 hrs on low. Add salt to taste after 2 hrs. Be sure to stir occasionally to make sure the refried beans are incorporated well.
No matter how you serve it, this chili will soon become a household favorite! What’s your favorite way to eat chili? Let me know in the comments below…I would love to expand my chili repertoire!