Cincinnati chili: Five-Way

First of all, let me preface this post with the disclaimer that I have never been to Cincinnati.

Cincinnati chili five way

In fact, I have never been anywhere in the US that is east of Nevada. I must be a west coast girl. Living in an eastern world.

Boiling the meat

Someday I would love to do a road trip around the perimeter of the US. Starting in Washington, I would travel down the west coast – the stunning Olympic Peninsula, the forests of Northern California. Through to the desert of Nevada. Texas. New Orleans. I might skip Florida, who knows. Then up the east coast: South Carolina, Virginia. And on through to Maryland, the Capital, New England, and of course, New York City. Finally, Maine, after which I would veer left back to Ontario.

Red onion

I don’t know if I will ever see Ohio. But that won’t stop me from appreciating one of their regional culinary masterpieces…Cincinnati Chili!

Cincinnati Chili

Thanks to the Food Network and its unrelenting coverage of Guy Fieri‘s gluttonous galavanting across the lands, I was introduced to Cincinnati Chili.

Cooking the chili

This is the weirdest recipe for Chili I’ve ever seen, but let me tell you, those Cincinnatians know their stuff. Thanks to Wikipedia, I have learned from the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, that “Cincinnatians consume more than two million pounds of chili each year, topped by 850,000 pounds of shredded cheddar cheese. Each September, the city celebrates “Chilifest” with food and entertainment.

Cooking the chili

Initially, I balked at the appearance of cocoa powder and cinnamon in the recipe. Nope, that sounds like its going in the direction of Mole (pronounced mo-lay) sauce, and no sir, I don’t like it. And boiling ground beef? There’s something almost inherently wrong about boiling meat. In water. Or as Cheesler says, maybe it’s right, and I have been brainwashed into assuming meat must always be seared, roasted or prepared in such a way as to produce the Maillard reaction. But, I put my faith in Guy. I found an excellent recipe on Tasty Kitchen  (including great step-by-step pictures) and followed it almost exactly. I was not disappointed.

Cincinnati chili has no beans, it’s basically just meat and spices that have been cooked low and slow, kind of like a Bolognese sauce. But the flavours are unmistakably chili-ish. And you can have your chili up to five “ways”. In fact, that’s exactly what they call it: “Chili Three-Way, Chili Five-Way”, etc. It’s served on a bed of cooked spaghetti, of all things. And it must be topped with a veritable mountain of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Onions and/or kidney beans are optional: they are the other two “ways”. So, one must assemble a Chili Five-Way as follows:

Chili on spaghetti

Chili on a bed of spaghetti.

Diced onions

Diced onions.

Red kidney beans

Red kidney beans.

Mountain of cheese

Mountain of cheese.

Mountain of cheese

Oh. Em. Gee. This was so good. Wikipedia also claimed that this Chili is usually served with oyster crackers. I have no idea what they are, but if I had them handy, I would have tried them. Maybe a trip to Ohio will be necessary after all…

Cincinnati Chili Five Way

And…do you want to know what I made with the leftover Chili? I made…chili lasagna! BUT I DIDN’T TAKE PICTURES! Forsooth!

Cincinnati Chili Five Way

I’ll just have to make it again so I can share it with all of you.

Cincinnati Chili Five Way

Here’s the recipe! So, tell me, have any of you been to Cincinnati and had the real thing?

Cincinnati Chili Five Way

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Categories: Food

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3 Comments on “Cincinnati chili: Five-Way”

  1. March 30, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    I love Skyline Chili! Another great way to have it is as a dip. Layer 1 pkg of cream cheese, Skyline Chili and 8 oz. of cheddar cheese and bake until the cheese has melted. It will be gone before you know it!

  2. Marl
    March 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    That is one serious chili…I love the ‘put together’ and must admit the mountain of cheese does it justice!

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