A Bean-y Baby

January 9, 2012

5-way chili, Cincinnati-style

We had another new word over the holidays: BEE, as in bean, and our toddler says it loudly and proudly. If I remember correctly, she decided she loves beans and Brussels Sprouts on the same day, which is a lot of health for one small GI tract.

For New Years Day I made Cincinnati-style chili. I first tasted this Midwestern chili last year while recipe testing and loved it.  If you are new to this style, it has a ground beef base, the unique seasonings of cinnamon and cocoa and is served over spaghetti with grated cheddar on top. This is your classic “3-way” chili. You can also top it with chopped onion (“4-way”) and kidney beans (“5-way”). It is cooked down to a thick, sauce-like consistency…from what I’ve read, also perfect for topping hot dogs.

I served ours “5-way,” wanted the full experience. My daughter ate it layer by layer–savoring the beans, tossing the onions, and shoveling in the spaghetti–while the rest of us dug in our forks and twirled for a perfectly-layered bite.

Cincinnati Chili

(adapted from whatscookingamerica.net)

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (reserve half for topping)
  • 1 # grass-fed ground beef, 85% or leaner
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T chili powder (1 tsp regular chili powder+ 2 tsp Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, an ancho-chipotle-jalepeno blend)
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 oz dried spaghetti
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed, room temperature
  1. In a large frying pan (12″), saute half of the onion, beef, garlic and chili powder until beef is just cooked. Break up beef to as fine a mince as possible.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (through water) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered 1-1 1/2 hours, or until sauce has thickened, but is still thin enough to coat pasta.
  3. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and divide onto 4 plates. Spoon chili over spaghetti and top with cheese, reserved onions and beans.