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Cincinnati Chili

In Cincinnati they heat things up with heaping bowls of chili cooked until practically melted, with additions such as warm spices like cinnamon, cocoa powder, allspice, and cloves, and a touch of sweet molasses. Served over spaghetti and topped with hearty beans, cheese, and onion, it’s like no chili you have had before, but definitely one you’ll make over and over again.–Ellie Krieger

LC Three Way, Four Way, Five Way, Oh My! Note

Are we all familiar with Cincinnati-style chili? This unique and saucy take on chili is traditionally and ubiquitously plopped atop spaghetti and, if you please, glopped with Cheddar cheese, red onions, and/or beans. Mind you, there’s proper Cincinnati chili terminology to describe exactly how you like yours…

Two Way: Chili plopped on spaghetti

Three Way: Chili plopped on spaghetti and smothered with cheese

Four Way: Chili plopped on spaghetti and smothered with cheese and diced red onions or beans

Five Way: Chili plopped on spaghetti and smothered with cheese, diced red onions, and beans

One last thing. This rendition is made with ground turkey, which is hardly traditional, although you can’t really tell the difference. Honestly. That said, we’re not going to try to stop you from making it with ground beef. As if we could stop you.

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 2 H, 45 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • One 15-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • One 15-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 ounces spaghetti, preferably whole-grain, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup grated, lightly packed extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 teaspoons finely diced red onion

Directions

  • 1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into small pieces, until just cooked through and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. Add the bell peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cocoa, paprika, cumin, oregano (if using), cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • 3. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes with their juice, water, molasses, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered, until the mixture has thickened considerably but is still somewhat soupy, about 2 hours.
  • 4. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve the chili over the spaghetti, topped with the kidney beans, cheese, and diced red onion.
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