Let’s talk about all the reasons I’m all about this recipe. 1. It comes from Mast Brothers new cookbook- elegant design- go Brooklyn [ if you have never watched this Mast Bro video– you must, now] 2. The ingredients are few, most of which I had lying around/in freezer. I love my vegetarian chili but requires much more chopping 3. The spice- I love the sheer quantity- ¼ cup of chili powder? Yes please. Plus cumin, allspice, and cloves. Now you’re talkin’. 4. The chocolate and sherry vinegar finish. Perfect- it adds so much depth and flavor 5. I’ve been curious about Cincinnati chili- the Mast Bro recipe heading says: “Found at chili parlors throughout Ohio.” Someone please tell me more about this. But I’m going to guess that most Cincinnati recipes don’t involve 2.5 oz chocolate 6. What I do know is that one generally serves Cincinnati chili over spaghetti with shredded cheese. This makes it not only an incredibly hearty dish… but to me the flavors rendered suggest like a Mexican chocolate/mole Bolognese? I hope those words convey how amazing this tastes, because damn, I am impressed with this recipe.
No idea if this is a sacrilege in Cincinnati chili but just because I like it- I added carrots and beans to this recipe. I used only 1.5 pounds of beef (because that’s what I had on hand)- and i also made up for that weight in the carrots & beans.
Freezes well too.
A Mast Brothers Recipe. my adaptions in [ ]
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
[optional- snacko backo added 3 carrots, chopped and 14oz can of kidney beans]
2 pounds ground beef
¼ cup chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp of cayenne [this gives a nice subtle undercurrent of heat, if you are heat-averse, lessen]
1 ½ cups tomato puree [I used canned San Marzano- sold in giant cans, freeze the rest]
4 cups beef stock [see way too long note below]
2 ½ ounces dark chocolate [no, I did not use Mast Brothers ($), while I might have gone for like 70% cocoa or above, I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet. Worked grand]
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 pinches sea salt
2 pinches fresh ground black pepper
for serving: I used whole wheat spaghetti and Colby cheese. Cheddar or maybe even a smoked cheddar also came to mind.
In a large stock pot, heat the oil on medium. Add onions and simmer until translucent. [after a few minutes, I added the carrots]
Add ground beef, a cook until browned [just browned is fine, it will get lots more time]
Stir in cumin, chili, allspice, cloves and tomato puree. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes [on low]
Add stock and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. [can add beans maybe 20 mins before finish]
[Turn off heat]
Stir in chocolate, sherry vinegar, remove bay leaves.
Season with salt and pepper [more salt to taste]
A note on stock: I happen to find the box stuff- even the fancy organic kind- unpalatable- it takes like salt water to me- but call me a snob, that’s fine. In Marcella Hazan’s recipes- she recommends make stock yourself- or you if you use the box stuff dilute one cup boxed broth + 3 cups water. So i’d follow her advice on that. I did not make the stock myself- but picked up house made veal stock from my trusty butcher- Savenor’s. I think if you wanted to sub chicken stock- you could. OR- I don’t see why you couldn’t sub the quick to make-rich stock from dried mushrooms- as in this post (which has recipes for French Onion Soup, Lentil Soup, Mushroom, Meat and Chicken stock recipes). Or you could just not be a snob about it. Something else to keep in mind- is that Cincinnati chili as I understand it- is more liquid-y than your standard chili- so you can scale back on the stock if you want thicker stew- but keep in mind that leftovers- tend to suck up all the moisture so you will have to add a bit of stock or water when reheating.