1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp. oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. epazote
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 6oz. can tomato paste
2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 c. water
1 15.5oz can kidney beans
shredded cheddar cheese for topping (to taste)
Cincinnati Chili is a marvelous thing, but most recipes have ingredients lists as long as your arm. This is a quick, easy dinner that evokes a great Cincinnati diner - without breaking the bank.
Epazote is Mexican bean spice - it's Mother Nature's Bean-o. If your store doesn't carry it and you're too timid to try the local bodega, order it online from Penzey's
for tearless onions
: Cut the ends of the onion, and peel off the outer layer, then run the onion under cold water. Cut immediately. The cold water diminishes the stinging spray of slicing onions. And make sure your knife is nice and sharp.
In a large skillet, heat oil, then add thinly sliced onions. Sauté until softened.
While onion is cooking, start a large pot of water to boil to prepare the elbows. Add the elbows once the water boils and cook until done. Drain and set aside, covered.
Add ground meat and brown.
Add spices: cumin, cayenne, and chili powder to make it taste like chili; epazote to counteract the "musical fruits"; cinnamon to make it taste like Cincinnati chili; garlic salt because my boys like garlic salt. Then add the tomato paste. Stir to blend well. Add water and stir to combine.
Simmer 20 min. to allow flavors to blend.
Open can of kidney beans and rinse in a colander.
(You can heat the beans, but part of Cincinnati Chili
is the combination of spicy and sweet, crunchy and soft, cool and hot.)
Layer the plate as follows: elbows topped with beans topped with chili topped with grated cheese.