My mom's arrival last week brought a bushel of tomatoes from my Indiana sister, Shari. Straight from the garden, they were picked green before the frost caught them, and ripened during the few days before they actually made it to my kitchen. After putting two canners away (14 quarts) I had three leftover yogurt containers that I needed to do something with. So I pulled out another old family stand-by and whipped up some chili, Cincinnati style.

I didn't know about Cincinnati chili until we visited some friends we had met in Chile (South America) back stateside where they lived in, you guessed it, Cincinnati. Skyline Chili is perhaps the most famous brand in the city, and one of the things that makes their chili unique is that the beans are added later along with Cheddar cheese, onions and served over spaghetti.

I must admit, I don't do the whole skyline thing. I put in the beans while simmering. And since I grew up putting chili over baked potatoes, sometimes we do that. (A quick, healthy option at Wendy's, by the way, if you're traveling over dinner time.) Other times, like last night, it topped a green salad along with the green onions and cheese.

The second unusual thing about this recipe is the addition of chocolate (!) and cinnamon which gives a fairly dark, complex flavor. Here's the recipe for those of you wanting to try something new. (And a confession - this is not a picture of my chili, as we ate it before I thought to grab a photo. But it looked just as yummy, I promise!)

Cincinnati Chili

2 T oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 pounds ground beef
2 t minced garlic
2 c beef broth
1 c barbecue sauce
2 T chili powder
1 t salt
1 ounce (1 square) unsweetened chocolate
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice (I usually omit these)
1/4 t ground cloves (and these)
1/2 t pepper
2 c tomato juice (I substituted canned tomatoes and food processed some celery)

To serve:
1 pound cooked spaghetti
1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, drained, rinsed and heated
1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (I used green onions here)
Oyster crackers (don't

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions, ground beef and garlic til brown. Put in a larger saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring occasionally and adding more juice is mixture is too thick. ( I add the beans in with the rest of the ingredients).

To serve, ladle on top of the spaghetti, and top with beans, cheese, onions and crackers.





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