Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

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Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:31 pm

Returning to a topic I opened about this time last year in the What's Cooking discussion,
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=33714&p=380143#p380143

Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Actually, I really don’t get the fear and loathing that the idea of Cincinnati chili evokes in some people. Mention this stick-to-your-ribs regional delight, and those of us who didn’t grow up with it (or its Louisville cousin, “chili con carne” over spaghetti without the aromatic spices) generally go “eeeuuuwww” and then burst into an angry rant.

What’s to rant about? From a food anthropology standpoint, it may help to recognize that this is just another strain of immigrant cuisine working its way into the American melting pot. Displaced Greek and Bulgarian refugees came to Cincinnati after World War II, and some of them opened restaurants. Unfortunately, the good burghers of the Queen City (then, as now, more conservative than we are down the river) weren’t having any furrin’ food. So the canny entrepreneurs re-purposed their traditional spaghetti with meat sauce and called it “chili,” and hungry Cincinnatians, recognizing it by that name, ate it right up.

That’s more or less how it happened, I’m pretty sure.

Anyway, it’s a fairly easy procedure, and every year when winter first sets in, we’ll make up a supply and freeze it in lunch-size packages. We did the current batch with black beans in place of the usual red beans, and it’s just as good as ever, maybe better. In the photo it’s served “five-way,” chii and spaghetti plus beans, onions and cheese.

Click here for a recipe for “Murray’s Girlfriend’s Cincinnati Chili” from Jane Butel’s Chili Madness. We’ve been using this recipe, only slightly modified in the spices, for many years. Switching in plant-based meatless ground “beef” works very well indeed in this dish with all its aromatic flavors.

Click to order Jane Butel's Chili Madness from Amazon.com.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076114 ... arrswinelo

And click here for a full copy of Butel's Murray's Girlfriend's Cincinnati Chile recipe on a foodie blog, "Oggi-ICanDoThat."
http://oggi-icandothat.blogspot.com/200 ... chili.html
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Hoke » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:43 pm

No rant here. Ate it occasionally when I lived in Louisville.

The base 'sghetti and bland tomato sauce wasn't all that dissimilar from food when I was growing up in Georgia.

It's just that it is essentially spiceless and distressingly bland, and often watery when it sits on a plate for more than a minute. Good dose of raw onions, tangy cheese and some missing spices and it got a lot tastier for me.

Another "down home" favorite I miss because I rarely see it any more, and resort to making it myself, is a good old style Texas chili with rice...nothing fancy, just spicy Texas red ladled over white rice, and topped with onions and cheese. Yowza!

Had occasion to go the original Chili's many times, in Dallas, when it was nothing more than a very casual and actual chili parlor, and had little else to offer really, just chili and beer (but it was good chili), and order it over rice. Good eating.
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:51 pm

Love it! When Linda Stradley was in the creative process of her What's Cooking America cookbook, she sent me a list of recipes to test and this was one of them. There was nothing bland about it. We tried all five ways and loved them all. I love big flavors in my foods and can usually tell if I need to jazz it up a bit.
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Redwinger » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:54 pm

I like me an occassional Cinti style chili. Make it a 4 way (onions) preferably from Blue Ash chili, but a Skylini will do in a pinch. Throw in a couple of cheese coneys for "dessert" and all is well.
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:47 pm

Hoke wrote:essentially spiceless and distressingly bland, and often watery when it sits on a plate for more than a minute.

:shock:

Airport franchise outlets? Or, at most, an outlier at a chain operation? Say what you will about it, my experience with Skyline is not congruent with this analysis.

And Mary's home-grown model is nothing like that. :lol:
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Tom NJ » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:39 pm

I tried this for the first time a few years ago, on a trip back from my in-laws. It was great! I loved the warming spices that were used. It was a bit startling at first to see it served over spaghetti, but once I dug in I was sold.
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Frank Deis » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:01 am

I would like a "biting my tongue" icon, please...
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:50 am

If they were just to come up with another name for the stuff, then I think it would suffer much less "hating". It's much like calling your blend of red California wine "Burgundy". It may be quite tasty wine. May actually be better than some examples of wine that really comes from Burgundy. But there's still something wrong about using the name that way.

That said, if it tastes good, then I'll eat it.

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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Fred Sipe » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:23 am

I usually eat my regular chili over a mound of mashed potatoes or elbow mac. With lots of crushed red pepper. Love the stuff.
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Re: Cincinnati chili: No hating, please!

Postby Hoke » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:41 am

Fred Sipe wrote:I usually eat my regular chili over a mound of mashed potatoes or elbow mac. With lots of crushed red pepper. Love the stuff.


Yeah, baby!

When it's down and dirty, it's chili over tater tots!!!
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