It takes a real Cincinnati native to understand the wiles of the city’s namesake chili. Luckily, Cincinnati home-owner and Real Simple Food guru Grace Elkus sits right across from me. According to Grace, Cincinnati chili must be served over spaghetti, topped with shredded cheddar cheese (a LOT) and a smattering of chopped white onion (not red). A side of oyster crackers wouldn’t be out of place and while these are the rules, it wouldn’t be crazy to see Cincinnati chili on top of a hot dog, either. Now you know.
2 pounds 85/15 lean ground beef
1 medium-size (10 oz.) white onion, chopped (about 1 cup), plus more for garnish
1½ tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
2 garlic cloves, chopped (2 tsp.)
1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15-oz.) can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup beef broth
1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ ounces 60%-70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
Garnish: finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
How to Make It
Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add beef, onion, paprika, salt, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and garlic. Cook, stirring to break beef into small pieces, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add tomato sauce, beans, broth, vinegar, and chocolate. Cover and cook on LOW until beans and onions are tender and flavors meld, about 8 hours.
Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water according to package directions; drain. Serve chili over spaghetti. Garnish with cheese and onion.
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