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Years and years ago – I’m not even remotely tempted to try to come up with a number – a really dear friend introduced me to Cincinnati Chili. He was from Ohio, and although we were both in graduate school and commensurately not in any great financial shape, he ordered Cincinnati Chili from Skyline Chili when longing overcame sense and it arrived on dry-ice shortly thereafter.

Happily, he shared. I no longer remember very clearly what it tasted like :(, though I remember very strongly that I loved it and wanted to have it again. That thought has recurred again and again – and I never did anything about it. So it seemed like a perfect item for my 40B440 list: something I’d been putting off forever.

Last year, I’d unearthed a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, when I was gifted with a web subscription, and by a happy coincidence (or karma), I was planning to make it this weekend, completly forgetting that it was on my 40B440 list.

As it’s been a long time since I’ve had any, I don’t know how true to the tradtional this recipe is, but I will say that it ROCKs.

Because the recipe calls for a plain tomato sauce, and because if there’s a more complicated way of doing something I invariably have to do it that way, I made my own simple sauce by:

melting 2 Tbs butter in a sauce pan

adding 1 28oz can of San Marzano tomatoes (there were only three ingredients: san marzano tomatoes, pureed san marzano tomatoes, basil leaf)

and simmering, stirring every so often, for about an hour:Then I made the chili.

1 ½ lbs meat (the original recipe calls for ground beef chuck – I used ground turkey)

2 Tbs oil
2 medium onions (chopped)
2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed)

2 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cocoa
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 tbs vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 cups tomato sauce (see recipe)

Cook meat in whatever way suits your fancy, breaking up the meat into smaller grounds, drain fat and set aside

Set pan over medium heat and let warm. Add oil and let warm. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are translucent and perhaps a bit brown on the edges. Add garlic.

Add seasonings (chili, oregano, etc.) and stir until fragrant (~30 seconds)

Add liquid ingredients and stir
Add meat and increase heat to high. When it reaches a boil, turn heat down and simmer for an hour or so, until thickened.

It’s supposed to be served over spaghetti, but I had none and so had to make do with elbows:

Yum!

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