m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Cincinnati Chili

I ad-libbed a Cincinnati chili from this recipe. In particular, the mysterious soy sauce sequence is a substitution for Worcestershire sauce, which I neither have nor ever expect to have. There’s also a suspicious amount of cinnamon in this recipe, and I compounded the issue by using Vietnamese cinnamon.

I did something very similar for my Beef and Bean chili, but didn’t serve it with pasta because it was chili.


  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 c.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 dried ancho or other chilis, stemmed and chopped to your tolerance
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • dash powdered bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce or 3/5 of a 25 oz. jar, eyeballed
  • dollop tomato paste along with ¼ c. water (optional)
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 15-16 ounce can beans, rinsed and drained (cannellini, kidney, or otherwise, also optional)
  • 1 lb short pasta, cooked al dente


  1. In a Dutch oven, fry the onions. Add the garlic.
  2. Add the beef and brown over medium heat.
  3. Add the dry spices and mix.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients and beans, bring to a boil, and simmer for at least 10 minutes, or simmer for up to an hour.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and heat through for a few more minutes.


Traditionally, the chili and beans are spooned separately over spaghetti, but I prefer to cook the spaghetti in the chili a bit.