Monday, September 19, 2011

Cincinnati Inspired Chili (Stove Top or Slow Cooker!)

Sorry for the mess on the plate--I got lazy when draining the pasta!

I had planned on making some sort of chili for supper tonight, and upon hearing that this morning, my youngest son asked, "can you make chocolate chili?" I thought for a bit and remembered my version of Cincinnati chili I had made several years ago, dug around in files on our old dinosaur of a desktop and started experimenting. 

If you've never had Cincinnati chili, you are missing out!  It's so flavorful and a nice change from the usual southwest style chili. It can be eaten straight out of a bowl, on burgers and wieners, etc., but we prefer ours served over pasta-- on top of spaghetti is a very traditional way to serve it. I've seen it topped with raw onion, oyster crackers, kidney beans and cheddar cheese, and I am sure there are many other options. We stick to raw onion and cheddar cheese--LOTS of raw onion!

I used extra lean ground chicken tonight, and with the cooking in water/smashing method of cooking it, nobody knew it wasn't ground beef. I served it over organic gluten free pasta (that I got on clearance!) alongside organic peas and carrots, and the meal was a big hit!

Cincinnati Inspired Chili

1 lb extra lean ground chicken/turkey/beef
1 cup + water
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz tomato sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
optional: cayenne pepper to taste

Directions: Place ground meat and 1 cup of water in a large pot/pan. Bring water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, all the while mashing meat with a potato masher or fork--you want the meat to have a smooth, fine-grained texture. When meat is fully cooked and most of the water has evaporated, choose one of the following preparations:

Slow cooker preparation: Place all ingredients in slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours and add water as necessary to get to desired consistency (we like ours thick and don't add any water). I prefer low and slow to really develop the flavors, but you can also cook it on high for 3-4 hours.

Stove top preparation: Add the rest of the ingredient to the meat, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour. Add water as necessary as it simmers if you like a thinner consistency.


Ground chicken (no antibiotics/veg fed): On sale for $3.99/lb plus 20% off = $3.19
Tomato sauce (organic): On sale for $.99 = $.99
Onion and Garlic: Garden Freebies

Total Cost: $4.18
Six servings: $.70 per serving


  1. It really is easy, and not too shabby on the waistline either! ;)

  2. If you are familiar with Weight Watchers, it only cost me 9 points for the chili, pasta and cheese!