How did this strange dish come to be?
The history of Cincinnati Chili – a heart felt story of two Macedonian refugees who fled to America from Argos Orestiko in order to escape the Balkan Wars in 1921: Macedonian immigrant Tom Kiradjieff created Cincinnati chili in 1922. With his brother, John, Kiradjieff opened a small Greek restaurant called the Empress. The restaurant did poorly however, until Kiradjieff started offering a chili made with Middle Eastern spices, which could be served in a variety of ways. He called it his “spaghetti chili.” Kiradjieff’s “five way” was a concoction of a mound of spaghetti topped with chili, chopped onion, kidney beans, and shredded yellow cheese, served with oyster crackers and a side order of hot dogs topped with more shredded cheese.
The 'ways' of the chili:
Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili
Three-way: spaghetti topped with chili and shredded cheddar
Four-way: spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, and chopped onion
Five-way: spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, chopped onion, and beans
For a Cincinnati coney, substitute a hot dog in a bun for the spaghetti
Crushed red pepper
Hot dog buns
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 TB vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 TB chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 ounce unsweetened chocolate about 1/2 of a square of baker’s chocolate or 3/4 tsp of cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups beef broth
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 TB apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Diced onion
- Cooked kidney beans
For serving: cooked spaghetti or hot dogs
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Stirring frequently, cook until browned.
- Add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, chocolate, beef broth, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and red pepper. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaf and serve over cooked spaghetti with the toppings of your choice, or on hot dogs.