My sister-in-law, another Sarah, is from Ohio and attended college at Xavier University in Cincinnati, where she met my brother, Joe. After they relocated to Fargo, ND, she developed this recipe as a way of staying connected to her roots. It has become a favorite in my family, too.
2 lbs lean ground beef
4 onions, small diced, divided (some is for the chili, some for the topping)
2 eight-ounce cans tomato sauce
3 cups water
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1½ tablespoons distilled vinegar
¼ cup chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
5 bay leaves
2-3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup kidney beans (optional)
Brown beef with onions (reserving one cup) and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat, stirring to crumble, and drain excess fat.
Place browned mixture in a large pot and stir in the tomato sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. If using beans, add them now. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Serve over spaghetti with reserved onions, and finely shredded, mild cheddar cheese, or over hot dogs with mustard, onions and cheese. This chili is also great over French fries or baked potatoes.
To store: Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days, or freeze for up to two months.
“Ways” to order Cincinnati Chili
Two-way: spaghetti and chili
Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese
Four-way: spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese