To lighten up the chili, we used a combination of lean ground sirloin and ground turkey - since I grind my own turkey, I used about 8 ounces of white meat to 4 ounces of dark to impart a bit more flavor. Once the meat started to brown, we tossed in one of those fist-sized onions that we chopped - after enough time for the onion pieces to soften, we stirred a couple cloves worth of minced garlic into the pot.
Here is where this chili really gets down and dirty - a mess of spices are added to season up the pot, including chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and coriander. For a touch of sweetness, brown sugar is added, along with spicy barbecue sauce and a splash or two of vinegar to add a zesty punch. Now, to add a dark depth to this intriguing mixture, can you guess what we else was put in? Bitter, unsweetened chocolate! I know this is nothing new or earth shattering as we've added cocoa before to other savory recipes, but it always gets me how much of an impact that extra special ingredient gives. The chili would be pretty dry at this point, so to keep it moovin' and groovin', tomato puree and water are also stirred in with the spices.
Plenty of time is given to this chili to bubble way, allowing its unique character to develop and flourish. The end texture was a little loose, but it still had a thickness to it - kind of like a very meaty marinara sauce, but the taste will say otherwise. To serve, the hearty chili is ladled over cooked whole-wheat spaghetti and topped with a smattering of raw onions, shredded sharp cheddar and warmed kidney beans. We tried to keep the stats in check by not going crazy with the cheese and using whole-wheat spaghetti, but don't let that stop you from piling on the cheese and using whatever spaghetti you've got!
It is not something we normally have around the house, so we didn't add any, but if you don't think the toppings are enough as is, a scattering of oyster crackers on top would be an appropriate finishing touch. I've never had chili in Cincinnati (or even been to the city), so I won't be one to claim that this is how chili is properly served there, but nonetheless, it was a fun and tasty way to change it up!
Cincinnati Five-Way Chili