Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Cincy-style Chili

I have played around with Cincinnati-style chili for years, trying to recreate that unique taste and could never seem to get it right. This recipe is the closest I have ever gotten. I use Herbamare seasoning, balsamic, A1 and worcestershire sauce, all of which have a multitude of sweet and savory ingredients, to get that UMAMI taste sensation. Umami is a Japanese term meaning "pleasant savory taste". It actually results in a physiological response caused by our taste receptors. It is more than salty, it's that mmmmm-factor. 

1 lb grass fed ground beef (85-15)
1 6 oz can organic tomato paste
4 cups water
4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons organic ketchup (Heinz is best)
3 tablespoons A1 steak sauce
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Herbamare seasoning (or any seasoning blend with heavy emphasis on celery)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar
1 oz (a handful) semi-sweet chocolate chips
salt and pepper to taste

Add raw beef, tomato paste and water to a pan and bring to a boil while whisking vigorously to break up the meat. There isn't supposed to be any big chunks like your typical Tex-Mex chili. Turn down the heat to med-low and add remaining ingredients, whisking in to mix well. Simmer for 3-5 hours, watching the liquid consistency. It is supposed to be rather thin, but cook to your desired viscosity. Taste often for seasoning and add salt and pepper at the end, if necessary. Remove garlic cloves and bay leaves before serving.

Traditionally, it is served on a coney, with chili, cheddar cheese and onions, but it is also served in a bowl with oyster crackers, or over fully-cooked spaghetti. We (southwestern Ohioans) have a 3-way, as shown below, with chili and cheese and a swirl of hot sauce, but we also add beans and/or onions for a 4- or 5-way. Freeze leftovers in small containers for a quick coney or chili-cheeseburger.

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