Cincinnati Style Chili in the pressure cooker

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Who knew a simple food dish could be so divisive?  Mention Cincinnati style chili in a room full of people in the Midwest and it’s like dropping a spark into a tinder box or saying “Donald Trump.”  Just sit back and watch the sparks fly!  I personally LOVE it!  I don’t really think of it as “chili” like I think of the Tex-Mex chili con carne soup.  I think of it more like spaghetti sauce!  When I was in college long-ago and far-away, in Wilmington, Ohio, I worked at a Gold Star Chili parlor for a very brief time.  I loved the food but waiting tables was not my cup of—chili!  A more well-known Cincinnati style chili restaurant in my area now is Skyline Chili.  This recipe isn’t exactly a duplicate of either of those places but my only variation.  Hope you like it!

I made this in my Instant Pot but it will work in any pressure cooker.  You can make it in a slow cooker as well.  I’ve been making it for years without a pressure cooker–it just speeds up the process.  I will give you instructions for non-pressure-cooker at the bottom.

The first part of this recipe is to boil the ground beef–you heard me right–boil, not brown.  I use beef bone broth when I have it on hand.  If I don’t, I keep a beef broth concentrate on hand to use for recipes.  This Amish brand is the kind I keep in my fridgeThis kind is really good too!  You can also just use canned beef broth.  I’m a big believer in doing what works for you!  Here is what my broth looked like after I added water to the concentrate.

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Next I crumbled up the beef into the broth and stirred it well to get it broken into as small of pieces as possible.

I put the lid on my magic pot, made sure the valve was set to “sealing,” selected MANUAL and used the +/- buttons to change the time to 10 minutes.

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It will take a while to come to pressure with all that liquid so get everything else prepared for the next step and if it isn’t done cooking, just walk away and do something else for awhile.  Better yet, surf around my blog for a bit and sign up for email notifications at the bottom of the page!  When you come back, turn the pressure valve to release.  When the pressure is all released, remove lid and proceed.

I chopped the onion and then mixed all of the spices together, mixed the tomato sauce and paste together, and mixed the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and shredded chocolate together.  Then I mixed together both mixtures. That’s a lot of mixing!  But now I was ready when the beef was done.

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Boiling the beef gives it a really fine texture you can’t get from browning.

Now it is ready to mix some more–all of the ingredients went into the pot with the beef and broth and I stirred it well.

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Back on with the lid and I set the valve back on “Sealing.”  This time I selected MANUAL again and used the +/- button to change the time to 30 minutes.  It didn’t take long to come back to pressure this time because things were already steamy in there.

When the pressure cycle ended, I turned the valve to release the pressure (be careful to keep away from the steam.)  I selected OFF and then SAUTE, used the ADJUST button to select the middle heat setting and gave the mixture a good stir.  I let it simmer with no lid while I prepared the spaghetti, stirring it every few minutes to keep it from sticking on the bottom.

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This stuff smells absolutely heavenly!!

When the spaghetti was done, I was ready to serve it up!  Cincinnati style chili is served in “ways.”  I personally prefer 5-way but to each his own, I say!  Here are the traditional “ways” this dish is served:

  • Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili
  • Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese
  • Four-way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and onions
  • Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and beans (beans substituted for the onions)
  • Five-way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, and beans

I guess I didn’t take a picture of my serving set-up–sorry about that!  I kept the spaghetti in a strainer inside the cooking pot to keep it warm.  I kept the sauce in the magic pot.  Then I had a bowl of finely shredded cheese, a bowl of finely chopped onion, and a bowl of rinsed and drained kidney beans.  I also like it with oyster crackers, so there was a bowl of those as well.

We look forward to leftovers of this “sauce” as well because it makes AMAZING chili-dogs.  Just heat some hot dogs, put them in buns and pile on the sauce, onions and cheese and a little mustard–to DIE for!!

How do YOU like your Cincinnati style chili??

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Cincinnati Style Chili

3 cans beef broth or 1.5 quarts of beef bone broth
2 med. onions, finely chopped
1 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
3-4 tbsp. chili powder (or use 2 capfuls of Tastefully Simple Wahoo Chili in place of red pepper, cumin and chili powder)
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 lbs. ground beef
4 garlic cloves (or use 1 capful of Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic)
2 tsp. vinegar
1 whole bay leaf
3 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Other ingredients needed to serve 5-way:
Spaghetti
Finely shredded cheddar cheese
Finely chopped onions
Rinsed and drained kidney beans
Oyster crackers

Add ground beef to broth in Instant Pot. Stir until beef separates to a fine texture. Close lid. Select MANUAL and use +/- button to set time to 10 minutes. Be sure valve is set to SEALING. While pot is coming to pressure and cooking, prepare other ingredients. When pressure cycle is finished, carefully release pressure. Select OFF. Add all other ingredients. Stir to blend. Close lid, select MANUAL and use +/- button to set time to 30 minutes. Be sure valve is set to SEALING. When pressure cycle is finished, carefully release pressure. Stir well. Select OFF and then SAUTE. Use ADJUST button to change to middle heat setting. Allow chili to simmer uncovered while preparing spaghetti according to package directions. Drain spaghetti. Serve according to taste/preference.

ALTERNATE INSTRUCTIONS: Add ground beef to broth in 4 quart pot. Stir until beef separates to a fine texture. Boil slowly for 30 minutes. Add all other ingredients. Stir to blend, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 3 hours (or place in slow cooker on low for 5 hours.)

Chili can be refrigerated overnight, so that the fat can be lifted from top before reheating.

  • Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili
  • Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese
  • Four-way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and onions
  • Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and beans (beans substituted for the onions)
  • Five-way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, and beans

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Eva says:

    This looks delicious! I will probably substitute zoodles for the noodles to keep it low carb. Thank you for the great recipe just in time to get ready for fall!

    1. Lisa Eilerman says:

      You can also serve over cooked spaghetti squash to keep carbs low.

  2. Althea says:

    I haven’t had good chili over noodles since I moved here.
    This post really made me want some!

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