As much as I like to try out different recipes and to try new foods, I think it’s important to have those few basic recipes that you can always go back to that you and your family know you love. For me, one of those recipes is now Cincinnati Chili. Granted, a year or two ago I’d never even heard of it, so it started as one of those try something new kind of meals, but quickly became one I wanted to make over and over again. It’s fairly basic, super simple, but totally delicious and something that you can add little changes to if you want to put your own spin on it.
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Cincinnati chili is not really a chili, as in thinking about the soup type of chili. It’s more of a meat sauce, but not a traditional spaghetti sauce either. Really, it’s in a class all it’s own. With spices like cinnamon and all-spice, it has a unique flavor. It is a meat sauce but the meat is traditionally more boiled than browned so that it breaks down as a thin part of the sauce. Now, I chose to go ahead and brown my meat the more traditional way, taking care to really break it apart and not leave any large chunks as it cooked, only to get things moving a little quicker and to ensure I didn’t end up with too much grease in my slow cooker.
The next thing to know about this “chili” is how to serve it! Almost always over spaghetti (sometimes over coneys) but the toppings is where you really get to customize. Since I’m not from Cincinnati, I won’t try to get to technical about the “way” system with which this dish would be ordered in a restaurant, but just think of the toppings as options to customize it for each and every person in your family. The traditional options include cheese, onions and beans.
There is a little cheat here I make from time to time that hopefully won’t leave anyone too upset. Some days, when I’m trying to get a little extra veggie in my diet, I will spiralize some sweet potato, butternut squash or zucchini and use that for myself instead of the traditional spaghetti noodles. No one freak out! It’s really good and just gives me an easy way to get more veggies, especially when eating leftovers for lunch.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon all-spice
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 12 oz spaghetti noodles
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 small yellow or white onion, diced
Add ground turkey to skillet or multi-cooker and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break apart. Brown over medium high heat and continue to stir and break apart so that no large chunks remain
Before turkey is fully cooked, add all dried spices and mix together well as turkey continues to cook
Transfer to slow cooker and add tomato sauce and diced bell pepper
Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8
Cook spaghetti according to package directions
Serve spaghetti topped with chili then add desired toppings such as cheese and chopped onions
One of my favorite things about this recipe? The leftovers!!!
Want more recipes that make even better leftovers?
Slow Cooker Bolognese makes great lasagna!