Friday, September 17, 2010

Cincinnati Chili: So Good, it'll Make You Want to Slap Yo' Mama!

"Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili."  Last words of Kit Carson (1809-1868), American frontiersman

Texas may be known for great chili, which is probably the kind Kit Carson longed for, but only Cincinnati can claim, and boast of, Cincinnati Chili!

In 1922, Tom Athanas Kiradjieff, a Macedonian immigrant, along with his brother John, opened a hot dog stand with Greek style food called The Empress.

Cincinnati is still behind the times, so you can imagine that in 1922, there was zip, zero, nada interest in Greek food.  Business at The Empress was pretty poor, but one dish became popular.  Tom called his spaghetti "chili," and made it with Middle Eastern spices.  Although served in several different ways, one of the best known was the Five Way:  spaghetti  covered with chili, then a layer of chopped onions, then kidney beans, and then topped with cheddar cheese.  This was served with oyster crackers, and a side order of hot dogs topped with cheese.  For more information on Cincinnati Chili (and the regular stuff), check out

The recipe I'm going to share is based on one I found in the Cincinnati Enquirer that's actually called "Slap Yo' Mama Chili." It won a local chili contest in Cincinnati about six years ago.  I've adapted it by leaving out the 1/2 cup of butter, and the congealed fat--you can thank me later.  This version is relatively low in fat and extremely hearty.  Once you've tasted it, you'll never go back to ordinary chili--like what they have in Texas.

It's so good, it really will make you want to slap yo' mama, but please refrain from doing so.  It's great, just plain in a bowl, with saltines or cornbread on the side.  It's also wonderful on hot dogs, or over rice.  And of course, it makes awesome chili spaghetti!  Don't forget the cheese and onions!  Sour cream is good, too.

Cincinnati Chili

2 lbs ground chicken
1 T olive oil
1large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t pepper
2 T chili powder
3 T ground cumin
1 t cinnamon
1 T paprika
1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t curry powder
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t allspice
1 T cocoa powder
2 1/2 T brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 t soy sauce
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 t hot sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
2 14 1/2 ounce can kidney beans
2 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 T lime juice

Brown chicken along with onion, pepper, salt, and garlic powder.  Drain fat when meat is browned.  In a small bowl combine spices, brown sugar, flour and cocoa; mix with a fork.  Add dry mixture to meat, stir well to keep from sticking.  Add soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, tomatoes, kidney beans and tomato juice.  Stir well, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.  Add lime juice, simmer 15 minutes more.  Makes 8 servings.

What's your favorite chili?  I mean your favorite up to now, because once you've tasted this...

Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by!  Tweet me @: maria_mckenzie.


Becke Davis said...

What is it with Cincinnati and chili? The world is divided by chili preferences, I think -- some people even spell it "chilli," which is just wrong!

My friends in Texas load their chili up with chunks of beef, and don't always add the beans. My brother in Albuquerque doesn't call it chili unless it's hot enough to burn off your taste buds.

I grew up in Chicago, home of real hot dogs, real pizza and -- yes, Cincinnati -- real chili.

The recipe at this link comes pretty close, although I've never tried adding beer:

I know my friends won't agree with me (even my husband has gone to the dark side, chili-wise, and is a fan of Skyline and Gold Star), but this Chicago gal puts nutmeg and cinnamon in hot cider, not chili!

Bring it on, Ohio Valley Romance Writers, tell me how wrong I am. I can take it!

Monica Burns said...

WOW!!! I am SOOOO glad I just ate lunch an hour ago, otherwise that recipe would have me hunting down something to eat fast!! I can't wait to test out this recipe.

Becke, nutmeg and cinnamon are spices. They aren't necessary sweet by their nature, but are made sweet when SUGAR is added. So yeah, I like the darkside, but since I live in VA where they have NO idea what chili is, I'll have to suffer in silence here.

Although I will say that the chili my mom made is unlike anything you've ever had before. It's spicy sweet and has potatoes in it. I LOVE IT!

Saving the recipe now!!

Gabriella Edwards said...

Hi, Maria! Hmm, no debate here. I love all kinds of chili. My favorite Cincinnati chili is Skyline. Don't care for Gold Star--just doesn't have any taste for me.

I do prefer Texas chili, but I'd miss my once-in-a-while Skyline 3-Way if I couldn't get it in just about every neighborhood in Cincy.

And I so gotta try this "Slap Yo' Mamma Chili" just for the title alone. LOL!

Becke Davis said...

Potatoes in chili, Monica? I can't picture that.

I agree with Maria on the sour cream, cheese and onions, and the Worcestershire sauce, but I just can't come to terms with the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Rosie - what's the difference between Gold Star and Skyline?

This is all sounding way too good, though -- I'm watching my sodium intake, and "low sodium" and "chili" just don't go together!

Gabriella Edwards said...

Well, there seems to be two different factions of Cincinnati chili lubbers. I think Skyline is tastier...zestier maybe. Gold Star just doesn't do it for me.

And I'm calorie counting so I can't go crazy, but a small 3 way is doable on occasion. We need to schedule one of our dinners at SL so you can see what the hype's all about!

Gabriella Edwards said...

Oh, Mon, did I forget we were supposed to go to Skyline when you were here? You know I can ship it to you if ya want.

Keri Stevens said...

Chili is beans, tomatoes, onion, ground meat, cumin seed, helluvalotta pepper, period. Period. All the rest of that stuff is fluff.

Make it like a man.

Unknown said...

erhhhhhhh...probably should have read all the way through. I just ran downstairs and slapped my mama. hmmmm, it's gonna be hard to put that horse back in the barn.
Seems like a great recipe, but a bit time consuming when Skyline is right up the street and we can catch up on all there is to know on Ludlow:>)