5-Way Cincinnati Chili

There are chili lovers everywhere….especially in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ohio? Yup, and they have their OWN way of serving chili and they think their way is the best way. By 5-Way they mean 5 TOPPINGS …. yes, they top their chili with as many as 5 layers of goodies.

So, while I’m not about to get into a spoon-throwing match with any of you chili cooks out there, I am going to present their version now and over the winter, I’ll give you other versions. In fact, I’ll look forward to YOU sending me YOUR chili recipe and if you give permission, I might just add it to the collection and post it — with proper thanks, of course!

So get on your horseless carriage, your private jet or whatever means of transportation you prefer….and head out to Cincinnati for their 5-Way Chili!

For the 5 Ways:  Spaghetti, kidney beans, chopped onion, grated cheddar cheese and Oyster crackers.

Cincinnati 5-Way Chili

  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 lbs. ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  •  2 Tbsp sweet paprika
  •  2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mace
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups water
  • 1  16 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. molasses

In a large heavy kettle, cook the onions and garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring until the onions are softened; add the beef and cook the mixture, stirring and breaking up the lumps until the beef is no longer pink. Add the next 10 ingredients and stir the mixture for 1 minute so the spices are thoroughly mixed through the meat. Add the bay leaf. Add the remaining ingredients , uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary to keep the beef barely covered, for 2 hours or until thickened. Discard the bay leaf and season the chili with salt and pepper to taste.

Chili can be made 4 days in advance, cooled, uncovered and kept covered and chilled. Or it may be frozen in meal sized portions.

THE TRADITIONAL CINCINNATI WAY: Ladle the chili over cooked spaghetti and top it with the beans, chopped onion, grated cheddar cheese and oyster crackers.

Makes 6-8 servings

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