Chili Digression [Moved from Pennsylvania board]
There's your problem right there. Chili is a highly regional food that tends to generate highly chauvinistic reactions from its afficionados. We've already seen the typical attitude of the Texas chili fan, who invariably starts drawling domething like "anybody who knows beans about chili knows that there are no beans in real chili." Their chili is a spicy stew consisting mostly of meat (often wild game, or even roadkill, I hear) and chile peppers.
To this unrepentent yankee, chili is a tomatoey concoction consisting mostly of ground beef and kidney beans, with a little mild chili powder in it. I personally like it over rice.
Go to Cincinnati, and you find something called Chili 5 Ways, which is basically a meaty tomato sauce, served over spaghetti, with beans, onions, and cheese heaped on top.
I'm aware of that glop made in Cincy. It's just fancy tomato sauce for pasta.
BTW, I live in one of the Mid-Atlantic states, but my auto license plate reads "TX CHILI."
BTW again, I love beans, but they don't go IN chili. They are served as a side dish known as 'frijoles refritos' which I often make with pinto beans to go along with chili.
Okay, now you have gone too far!
I'm a native of Cincinnati, but love life in Philly. If it wasn't the holiday season, I might be tempted to post the ridiculous post above on the Ohio/Cincy section and let the natives devour your inbox with rants.
First of all, there is no tomoatoes that I am aware of in real Cincinnati chilli; it is ground meat with a rich dark sauce and complex (and by the purveyors, top secret) seasoning.
We eat it on hot dogs, with a large fluffy mound of shredded cheddar (Coney Island - Coney's) or my favorite as a 3,4,5, and even 6 way.
A Basic 3-Way is spaghetti, topped with chilli, and topped with a large mound of shredded cheese. A true native, then takes oyster crackers (not those fancy round kind you find here in the mid-atlantic at seafood restaurants) and layer them over the top and then enjoy. A four way has either onions or kidney beans added on top of the chilli (below the cheese). 5-Way is both onions and beans. And a 6-way has a fried egg at the bottom of the pile.
My two sons love it like the natives, and we regularly recieve shipments of Skyline frozen chilli throughout the year to keep us stocked up. My 9 year old son was thrilled that there is a Skyline Chilli franchise in Clearwater, FL, just minutes from the Phillies beautiful spring training facility.
Keep your Texas chilli and your Bush's to yourselves.
Here is another Cincinnati Chili recipe that I like. As you mentioned, you can make it to suite a variety of tastes.
2 tbsp oil
2-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 quart cold water
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 large onions (diced)
1-1/2 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp Lea & Perrin Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic (crushed)
2 tbsp chili powder
5 bay leaves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1-1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
Salt & pepper to taste
In a heavy guage pot, heat oil, add beef until brown, add onions and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add tomato paste and all other ingredients and let simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Adjust with salt & pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.
In Cincinnati the true enthusians have their Chili 1 to 5 ways:
1. Plain 2."Two Way" - Spaghetti & Chili
3."Three Way" - Chili, Spaghetti, and Cheddar Cheese
4."Four Way" - Chili, Spaghetti, Cheddar Cheese, and Onions
5."Five Way" - Chili, Spaghetti, Cheddar Cheese, Onions and Kidney Beans
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Chef Paul Sturkey