Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cincinnati chili cockaigne (p. 514) 2-way, 3-way, 4-way, and 5-way

I'm not sure what motivated me to make Cincinnati chili cockaigne (p. 514) except I've always been interested in the 2- through 5-way styles (which I've totally seen in Ohio and Indiana). I don't love chili as much as some people do but it's such an excellent cold weather food...and it's getting colder! I still have at least four or five more TJOC chilis to go!

The chili recipe started in a way that was completely novel to me--cooking two pounds of ground meat in boiling water. Bizarre! I essentially poached ground beef.

I added onions, garlic, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire far, pretty normal.

I then got to the spices--ground peppercorn, ground allspice berries, ground whole cloves--a perfect use for my brand new spice grinder!! I love my new spice grinder, although I'm having trouble cleaning it. Does anyone else have one of these? How do you clean it? Or do you clean a coffee grinder?

I stirred in a bay leaf, salt, cinnamon, red pepper, cumin....

...and an ounce of unsweetened chocolate?

I've heard of people adding chocolate (as well as other bizarre ingredients like peanut butter) to their chili but I've certainly never tried it.

Even so, I added all of that to the pot:

I brought the whole thing to a boil and then simmered it for a few hours, then skimmed off the fat and put it away. TJOC said to refrigerate it overnight.

A couple of days later, I took the chili back out and heated it back up.

The chili was really good! It wasn't near as sweet as it seemed like it would be with all of the sweet spices (the chocolate, cloves, and cinnamon) but it was very full flavored. The broth was extremely flavorful and I suspect that is partially because of the poaching method.

To make this chili 2-ways, I poured it over spaghetti.

This was extremely painful for me and I imagine that my Italian mother felt a little chill as I poured chili on spaghetti. I will admit it was pretty good though--like a really Americanized sauce.

To make a 3-way (teehee!), I added cheddar:

Another big improvement! I like cheddar on chili and I really like cheese if I'm eating pasta (although, granted, it's usually not cheddar).

To make chili 4-ways, I added diced onions:

I don't really like diced onions, especially not raw. I don't think the onions added anything special.

To elevate the dish to a 5-way, I added pinto beans to the top:

Yum! Another tasty addition if you like beans in your chili (which I do). I think that I would remove the onions and add some crackers but it was really tasty. Has anyone else poured chili over pasta or does that seem strange to everyone else?


  1. I've never poured chili over pasta...though I could imagine it being alright with something that had some spaces to catch it, like macaroni or fusilli.

    Chili for me has always meant a lot of beans, I just made a huge batch this week with 3 cups of dried beans (so I guess about 6 cups cooked) and no meat as I'm vegetarian. Super hearty for sure. I added some beer to the mix, but I wish I'd tried some chocolate too.

  2. There is a little brush for cleaning coffee grinders, would bet money that it would work for your spice grinder. Wish I knew where mine was so I could take a picture for you.

    I got my at Sunflower Market, but I would venture to guess it could be found at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or so such.

  3. Never heard of chili on pasta either, but as both are tasty I bet I'd like it. I usually add unsweetened cocoa powder to mine (easier than shaving off a bar I think).
    And you would think chocolate, cloves and cinnamon would be sweet as that's how we usually use them in american. But use cloves and cinnamon all the time in Indian and of course not at all sweet. That and you were never a chocoholic like me (heh) and probably never had the misfortune of trying to eat a hunk of unsweetened baking chocolate found in the cupboard as a kid. *shudders* Not. at. all. sweet. lol

  4. Steak & Shake offers chili just like this- including 2 way thru 5-way. I think that late night diner when we went to Purdue offered chili over spaghetti. I Agree with Zoey- better with Macaroni (Chili Mac, duh!) than spaghetti.

  5. I had heard of Cincinnati Chili before and thought it just sounded so ... odd. However, a few months back, for some strange reason I felt compelled to make it and try it. And was I ever wowed! I LOVE this dish! I loaded it up - 5 ways!

    As far as your spice grinder, I'm not sure if you've gotten your question answered, but you can 'clean' it by putting in some torn bread pieces and running it. Repeat a few times. Also, I usually see people recommend that you have two of these machines if you grind your own beans for coffee - better to have them separated by task. I don't drink coffee at all, so I just have one for spices.

  6. A small soft bristled paint brush also works well for cleaning the grinder.

  7. I always hated pasta with chili and was reluctant to try the Cincinnati version even after I moved to the city. But I finally tried the recipe from the Joy of Cooking and loved it! It is different, and heartburn-inducing, but soooo good when you get used to it.


I love comments! Please let me know what you think!

I'm really sorry, I hate comment moderation, but I've been getting annoying Japanese spam messages lately so...comment moderation has started.