Friday, October 20, 2006

It's autumn and Cincinnati Chili time again

Jane Stern and a tableful of chili! Photo: Roadfood

My new friend, Cakegrrl, a Cincinnati ex-pat, confides that she's more of a Gold Star Chili fan than a Skyline one, but I fall into the Camp Washington Chili contingent! Open 24 hours a day, six days a week, AND a winner of a James Beard "American Regional Classic" Award and accolades from Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood fame, where else could you run into little gangs of Goths at 3 am, scarfing up 4-ways after a hard night of partying at The Warehouse? ;-)

Here, for the record, is the recipe I have used to make Cincinnati chili from scratch ever since I was in high school, thanks to my best friend back then, Peggee. It is meatier than Skyline or Gold Star because it has twice the beef called for in the traditional local recipes and, for me, seems more like Camp Washington's offering. Finely grate that cheddar cheese and chop those sweet onions while the chili is cooking and filling your kitchen with that fabulous spicy aroma. To make it a true Cincinnati chili meal, serve it with a small bowl of oyster crackers and have a root beer to wash it all down!

Peggee's Cincinnati Chili

2 lbs ground chuck
4 medium or 2 large onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed or 1 t minced
1 1/2 T vinegar
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 T chili powder
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t cayenne pepper
1 square (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate
Salt to taste (optional)
1 quart water
Spice bag (I use a tea ball):
--4-5 dried red peppers or 1 t red pepper flakes
--5-6 bay leaves
--35 whole allspice or 1 1/2 t ground

Combine all ingredients in heavy pot, breaking up meat with slotted metal spoon until finely separated. Bring to boil, stirring frequently to blend ingredients, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 hours, skimming fat off of top. Remove spice ball. (You may also refrigerate overnight and skim fat off the top the next day, adding water to dilute mixture.) Serve over cooked spaghetti and cheese (3 way); spaghetti, cheese, and onions OR beans (4 way); or spaghetti, cheese, onions and beans (5 way). It's up to you whether you choose to wear a bib! LOL


Blogger Lynn Barry said...

Oh my GOD that sounds yummy...never heard of using chuck and/or chocolate..definitely a recipe I would like to try. Thanks so much!

11:05 PM  
Blogger cakegrrl said...

Whoa! I never had a chance to try Camp Washington, but I have certainly heard of it. Do you know what my fave Cincy restaurant is? It's in Blue Ash... it's called Parker's!!

4:51 AM  
Blogger Willa Frank said...

dear lynn,

i forgot to mention it freezes well, too, if you don't think you want to eat it for 2 or 3 days (i know it would go faster at your house than at mine, considering you have a brood and i have only me and my tiny kitty!

dear cakegrrl,

parker's, huh? let me do a little research on that. it sounds vaguely familiar, but i can't place it right now! (and what's really weird is that i live on parker street!

my fave place used to be aioli downtown, but it's closed now. julie francis' new place, nectar in mt. lookout, sounds way too trendoid for me.

10:46 AM  
Blogger cakegrrl said...

i have heard of was around when I was going to art school... too bad they closed--did they have weird hours? parkers is on cooper road in blue ash. definitely go when it gets cold outside--they have a fireplace in each dining room...the web address is:
Parker's Blue Ash Grill

1:55 PM  
Blogger Willa Frank said...


did you go to the art academy? they've moved downtown to 12th street between vine and walnut now, you know...

2:02 PM  
Blogger cakegrrl said...

No, I went to antonelli on 7th and walnut/main. yes, the school they run promos for at 3am during montel williams... :(

11:11 AM  

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