Soups

Chef John's Cincinnati-Style Chili Recipe

"You’ll love this chili if you tend to like foods from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Greek food, or Indian food, because of the spices and flavor profile. If you don’t, you won’t. If you finish this dish off with some diced onions and grated Cheddar cheese like I did, you’ll be enjoying what they call in Cincinnati a "Four-Way," because of the four components, but feel free to serve as you like."

Ingredients

  • Adjust
  • US
  • Metric
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cups cold water
  • For service:
  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon diced onion, or to taste (optional)
  • 4 cups grated Cheddar cheese, or to taste (optional)
  • Directions

  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In
    1. Combine beef and tomato paste in a large pot. Rinse out the tomato paste can with a couple tablespoons of water and add to the pot with garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, cloves, black pepper, bay leaf, sugar, and salt. Add apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, and cold water. Mash and stir with a potato masher or a large whisk to break up the meat into fine pieces.
    2. Place the pot over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until flavors come together and chili reaches your desired thickness, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
    3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.
    4. Taste chili and adjust seasoning. Remove and discard bay leaf. Ladle over spaghetti into serving bowls. Top with some onions and Cheddar cheese. Cut and scoop the noodles up with a fork like you're eating a casserole.

    Footnotes

    • Chef’s Notes:
    • If you have a choice, the finer the grind of the ground beef, the better.
    • You can use 2 teaspoons of fine salt instead kosher salt, and white vinegar instead of apple cider if you like. All the spices can and should be adjusted to taste.
    • I thought this was a little too dry and that I had reduced it a little too much, so I added a little more water, tomato paste, and another pinch of salt, brought it back up to temperature, and served it the same way as before. It was pretty much the same experience, with more juices on the bottom of the bowl. But the video I’ve seen of the real stuff looks more similar to the second, saucier version.

    Nutrition Facts

    Per Serving: 753 calories;38.4 g fat;52.9 g carbohydrates;48.4 g protein;151 mg cholesterol;1444 mg sodium.Full nutrition
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