Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Tomato Basmati Rice

Why is meat so much more delicious when it’s on a stick? One of life’s great mysteries. Today I bring you the best damn chicken kebabs you EVER had, that are also perfect for grilling amateurs (aka me). I don’t know my way around a grill very well, but these kebabs are hard to mess up. The secret is using chicken thighs. You can overcook them by a half hour and they won’t be dried out. Also, the marinade. Don’t let the weird goopiness of the uncooked marinade deter you — the Greek yogurt, spices and lemon juice do a fantastic job of tenderizing the chicken, and form this delicious charred crust when grilled.

We devoured these sitting outside on our balcony. I encourage you to do the same. Adapted loosely from a Once Upon a Chef recipe.

Ingredient list, clockwise: Cooked basmati rice, chicken thighs trimmed and cut into chunks, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, curry powder, cinnamon, plain Greek yogurt, tomatoes, garlic, green chili, lemon and onion.

Kebabs 012In a large bowl, mix together the greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes and cinnamon to make the marinade. Mix the chicken in, coating every piece in the yogurt marinade, and refrigerate for 2-8 hours.

Thread the chicken onto soaked bamboo skewers, and place them on a large tray. Go outside and start up the grill (if you have a charcoal grill).

Back inside, prepare the rice. Dice an onion, green chili and 1.5 tomatoes. In a large pan, saute the onion and chili for 5-6 minutes on med high.

Add a few spices and saute another minute. Add in the tomatoes, and let simmer about 10 minutes. Add the rice (I cooked about 1.5 cups of rice, which was almost too much) and stir. Add in spices (several tablespoons of each) to taste until the color and taste are to your liking. I used a lot of curry powder, cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes, adding a little at a time, until it tasted and looked how I wanted.

Time to grill! Brush the grill with olive oil, so the kebabs don’t stick. Arrange them like so. Turn every so often. You’ll know when they are done — they will be nice and char-grilled on the outside. My coals weren’t that hot, so this process took about a half hour for me.

Time to eat!

Grilled Kebabs with Tomato Basmati Rice
Serves 4-6, cook time 1 hour (prep chicken and marinade in advance)

  • 4 pounds chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups uncooked basmati rice, cooked per packaging directions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chili, finely diced
  • 1.5 tomatoes, diced
  • Spices to taste: cumin, paprika, red pepper, curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Do this step 4-8 hours in advance. In a large bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix in the chunks of chicken. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to prepare the meal.
  2. Soak the bamboo skewers in water so they don’t catch on fire on the grill. Thread the marinated chicken onto the skewers and place them on a large tray. If you have a charcoal grill, light the coals at this time.
  3. Dice the onion, chili and tomato. In a large pan, saute the onion and chili in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high for 5-6 minutes. Add some spices and saute another minute.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes, until thoroughly cooked. Stir in the basmati rice and cumin, paprika, red pepper and curry powder to taste, a little at a time. Add as little or as much spice as you want, until it tastes to your liking and the color is right.
  5. On the grill, brush the grate with olive oil to keep the chicken from sticking. Grill the kebobs, turning every so often, until charred on the outside and all the way cooked. On low heat, this can take up to a half hour.
  6. Serve kebabs on a bed of the tomato rice and enjoy!




Slow Cooked Jerk Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice

There is a simple trick I recently learned that will make chicken of any kind absolutely amazing. Slow cook it, then pop it under a broiler and the end result is fall off the bone chicken with crispy skin. This jerk chicken recipe, based off of an America’s Test Kitchen recipe that I found here, packs so much flavor it’s ridiculous. It’s sweet, spicy, crunchy and all the seasonings and herbs really work well together. I added Chipotle style cilantro lime basmati rice, and made sure to drizzle tons of lime juice all over everything.

Jerk Chicken 031Slow cooked jerk chicken served with cilantro lime rice and lime wedges. Half of the chicken shown here.

Ingredient list: Tilda basmati rice (the best), molasses, salt, olive oil, cardamom, all spice, 4 pounds of chicken drumsticks (thighs will work as well), cilantro, ginger, green onions, limes, habanero peppers and garlic. Not pictured: thyme.

Peel 1 inch of the ginger with a spoon. Using a spoon makes this otherwise difficult task so quick and easy. Then, crack the cardamom pods and extract the seeds. Be very careful about touching the habaneros with your hands — even after scrubbing with soap and hot water, touching your eyes or other sensitive area HUUURTS. Just trust me on this.

Throw the chopped green onions, seeded habaneros (leave the seeds in if you really like heat, only use 1 pepper if you just want a little), garlic, thyme, molasses, salt, all spice, cardamom seeds and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes a fully pureed.

Add the drumsticks and half of the sauce into a crock pot, making sure each piece of chicken is coated. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 3.

Turn your broiler on high. Cover a large pan in tin foil, and arrange the chicken on a greased rack. Brush each piece with half of the remaining mixture. Broil for 10-15 minutes. Turn over, coat again, and broil a second time for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is blackened and crispy on the outside.

While the chicken is broiling, prepare 2 cups of basmati rice according to the packaging instructions. For best results, I usually soak basmati rice in cold water for a half hour, then drain before cooking. Add the juice of 1 lime, the zest of 1 lime and 3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro.

Jerk Chicken 043
Serve hot out of the oven with limes for garnish.

Slow Cooked Jerk Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro Lime Basmati Rice
Serves 4-6, cook time 4 hours

  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 habanero chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 (1-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 pounds skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice, prepared
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges for garnish
  1. Peel the ginger with a spoon and chop into pieces, extract the cardamom seeds out of their pods, peel the garlic cloves, chop the green onions, and de-stem and seed the habaneros.
  2. In a food processor, add the green onions, olive oil, habaneros, ginger, molasses, garlic, thyme, all spice, cardamom seeds and salt. Pulse until the mixture is fully pureed.
  3. In a crock pot, add in the drumsticks and half of the mixture, making sure each piece of chicken us fully coated. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4 hours.
  4. Turn your oven to broil on high. Line a large pan with foil, and position a greased rack over the pan. Place each drumstick on the rack, and brush on half of the remaining mixture. Broil the chicken for 10-15 minutes, then flip and coat with the rest of the mixture. Broil for another 10-15 minutes, or until the skin has become crispy and dark.
  5. Add the lime juice, lime zest and chopped cilantro to the basmati rice.
  6. Serve hot with lime wedges.

How to Make Pesto!

The first time I ever made pesto, it turned out great but I really could have used step-by-step visuals to ensure I was doing it right. Thus, I bring you — my pesto recipe, with step-by-step images and lots of tips.

Pesto is the most versatile sauce/condiment/spread ever. Spread it on a sandwich, use it in a sauce for Italian-style pasta, use it as a marinade in grilling, fill stuff a mushroom with it. Get creative! One year for Christmas I bought about 2 pounds of basil and some canning jars, and gave everyone I knew the gift of pesto.

This recipe is adapted from madame Ina Garten’s method. The woman really can do no wrong. Because my food processor is a bit tiny, I halved the recipe. With this batch, I used some for a shrimp grilling marinade, for pesto pasta, spread it on many slices of bread, and then made pasta again. And I still have some left over.

Ingredient list: a lemon, fresh  basil, good olive oil, salt and pepper, freshly grated parmesan, an air-tight jar for storage, garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt and pepper again.

Begin by picking all the stems and brown parts off of the basil. Don’t skip this step — if any brown or wilted leaves make it in, the pesto will turn brown very quickly. Next, chop the garlic and toast the pine nuts. This is most easily done in a nonstick pan on LOW LOW heat. Pine nuts are so tricky. They take forever to toast, but will burn in a half second. Therefore, you can never ever take your eyes off them, and keep them moving in the pan. When they start to brown (after about 5 minutes), pour them out of the pan immediately because even with the stove off, the pan is hot enough to burn them.

In a food processor or blender, add in the garlic and pine nuts. Pulse until they look like the picture above.

Next, add in the basil, salt and pepper. Pulse until the leaves are pureed. Then slowly pour the olive oil in a little at a time through the feed tube, pulsing the food processor until evenly mixed and it looks like the green mixture in the next photo.

Next, pour in the parmesan and pulse for about a minute.

This last step is key — take a half of a lemon and squeeze a good amount of juice into the pesto. Mix it in, and you will instantly see the green color become brighter and more vibrant. Lemon juice does a really great job of preventing the pesto from becoming brown. When you store the leftover pesto in an air tight container, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top to keep air out. If you do both the lemon juice and the oil layer, your pesto will last over a month in the fridge.

Pesto Recipe
Makes 2.5-3 cups, cook time 15 minutes

  • 2.5 cups packed fresh basil (3 large plastic packages, or 6 small, from the grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • Lemon juice of 1/2 a lemon
  1. Remove the stems and brown leaves from the basil, chop the garlic, and grate the parmesan.
  2. Place the pine nuts over the stove in a non stick pan. Turn the stove on to the lowest setting. Continuously move the pine nuts around, and never take your eyes off them. After about 5 minutes, they will start to brown. When they are toasted, remove them from the pan immediately.
  3. In a food processor or blender, add the garlic and pine nuts and pulse until finely chopped. Add in the basil, salt and pepper, and pulse until pureed.
  4. Pulse on low and slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube.
  5. Add in the parmesan and pulse until the mixture is evenly pureed.
  6. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and mix. Serve or store in an air tight container. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the pesto jar before storing.


Corned Beef Hash from Scratch

In lieu of Saint Patrick’s Day, I’m sharing with you perhaps the most delicious thing you can do with corned beef. I think the Irish are on to something – this stuff is absolutely amazing. Since you can’t make any corned beef dish spontaneously, every St. Patrick’s day, I find myself throwing the corned beef into my crock pot, going out to a pub and completely forgetting about it, then coming back to my apartment and being pleasantly surprised that there are pounds of slow cooked meat on my counter, smelling great and ready to eat.

Cooking traditional Irish food is a great way to celebrate the holiday, rather than wearing kelly green and bar hopping until you puke cheap green beer. But maybe that’s just me – I think I’m getting old.

Dice up the corned beef, add onions, herbs and potatoes. Fry an egg on top, and you can’t get much better than that.

If you’ve never made a corned beef brisket in the crock pot before, here’s a quick overview:

  1. Make sure to buy a brisket that will actually fit into your crock pot. I’ve been known to buy a bigger piece of meat than the space allotted in the pot, and being faced with quite the challenge.
  2. If it is on the large side, trim the fat or cut it in half if it’s too long.
  3. Place the raw brisket in the crock pot. Open the bag of seasoning and throw it in there too.
  4. Fill the crock pot with water, making sure that the meat is fully immersed in liquid.
  5. Cook on low for about 8 hours. You know it’s done when you stick a fork in it, and the meat just falls apart. So good.

Ingredient list: potatoes, cooked and diced corned beef, chopped fresh thyme, diced onions and eggs. Not pictured: olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced onions, thyme and corned beef.

Boil the potatoes, then dice them into chunks.

Add in the cooked and diced potatoes into the mixture, along with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet or nonstick pan, pour in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is almost smoking hot, pour in enough of the corned beef hash for a single serving. On high heat, let it cook for about 5 minutes. Flip the mixture over with a spatula and cook 5 more minutes. Do this in batches for as many people as you are serving.

Add a fried egg on top, and enjoy!

Corned Beef Hash from Scratch
Serves 4, cook time 8.5 hours

  • Corned beef brisket, 3-4 lbs
  • Water
  • Half pound potatoes
  • Half a sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 eggs
  1. Cook the corned beef on low for 8 hours in a crock pot. More specific directions above. You’ll know when it’s done when you stick a fork in it and the meat falls apart.
  2. Remove the cooked brisket from the crock pot and dice it into chunks.
  3. Add the corned beef, thyme and onions to a large bowl.
  4. Boil the potatoes until cooked.
  5. Drain and dice the potatoes into chunks. Add the potatoes to the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In a large skillet or nonstick pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When it’s almost smoking hot, add 1 serving of the hash. On high heat, cook for 5 minutes. Flip the mixture with a spatula, and cook 5 more minutes.
  7. Top it off with a couple of fried eggs, and enjoy.

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos

Tacos are so delicious that, if you ask me, I believe they should be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today’s recipe covers the breakfast taco. These tacos are quick and simple to whip up, and are bursting with flavor…but not too much flavor for the AM.

While I eat a lot of Mexican food, I created this recipe on my own so I have no idea if it’s authentic. I made a trip to the Mexican market this time though, so perhaps it is more authentic than previous attempts. If you are Mexican or a Mexican food expert – please weigh in!

Flour tortillas topped with chorizo, eggs, salsa, crumbled queso blanco cheese, avocado slices and a drizzle of lime juice.

Ingredient list, clockwise: Crumbled queso blanco cheese, 6 eggs, mild salsa, half a yellow onion sliced, olive oil, salt, pepper, tortillas, 2 sleeves of raw chorizo, sliced avocado and lime wedges.

Here we have my choice for taco toppings, but you could add in all kinds of good stuff – cilantro, chili peppers, raw onions, hot sauce, sour cream, black beans, etc.

Start by sauteing the sliced onions in a drizzle of olive oil for a couple minutes. Then add in both sleeves of the raw chorizo. Break up the sausage and saute until it becomes crumbly. Drain the chorizo as best you can – this step is important. If you don’t drain as much grease as you can, you’ll end up with a very drippy taco.

Add the drained chorizo back into the pan and crack in 6 eggs. On high heat, let them scramble and mix with the meat.

The finished chorizo egg mixture – cook until the eggs are dry and fluffy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you like your tortillas steamed, wet your hand and rub both sides of each tortilla. Microwave for 20 seconds, and they will be easier to form. Pile on the toppings and it’s ready to eat!

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos
Makes 6 tacos, cook time 20 minutes

  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 sleeves raw chorizo sausage
  • 6 large eggs
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 package small tortillas (I used flour)

For garnish

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Salsa
  • 1/2 package queso blanco cheese, crumbled
  1. In a large pan, saute the onions in olive oil on medium heat for 3 minutes.
  2. Add in both sleeves of the raw chorizo. Break up the sausage and saute until it becomes crumbled and cooked, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the grease from the cooked chorizo using a strainer and paper towels. Don’t skip this step – otherwise there will be grease everywhere.
  4. Add the chorizo and onion mixture back into the pan. Crack 6 eggs and stir until the yolks are broken up. Cook over high heat until the eggs are dry and cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Steam the tortillas by wetting your hands and rubbing both sides of each tortilla. Microwave for 20 seconds.
  6. Put it all together! Start with a tortilla, add the chorizo and eggs, then salsa, cheese, avocado slices and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Crusted Walleye with Lemon Risotto and Roasted Brussels

I’m really surprised how uncommon walleye is, because it really is the best. A freshwater fish common in the Midwest, walleye has a non-fishy, delicious flavor and a rich, flaky texture. Unfortunately, it’s quite expensive and can run up to $14 per pound (that might explain why it’s rare). I was lucky to get it for $11/lb. So if you need an excuse to drop money on some fish, Valentine’s Day dinner is perfect. Show your lover you really care by frying up some of the priciest fish at the seafood counter.

Tonight I made an extra crunchy herbed crust for the walleye, paired with lemon risotto and roasted brussels sprouts with bacon. Your Valentine is sure to adore this dinner. And the great thing about this recipe is how easy it is–the hardest part is literally cooking the risotto. I’ve made this fish probably 8 times before, and the end result has been perfectly cooked walleye with a golden brown crust every time.

Extra crunchy crusted walleye on a bed of lemon risotto, with roasted brussels sprouts and bacon…all drizzled in fresh lemon juice.

Walleye 115
Ingredient list, clockwise: olive oil, flour, brussels sprouts, chicken stock, white wine, diced onions, panko breadcrumbs, arborio rice, butter, salt and pepper, 2 walleye fillets, eggs, parmesan cheese, bacon lardons, chopped fresh herbs and lemons.

To prep: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dice a sweet onion, chop 6 slices of thick cut bacon into lardons (little squares), wash, trim and halve 1 lb of brussels sprouts, and finely chop 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs. I used parsley, oregano and thyme.

Walleye 121
Place the brussels into a baking pan. Pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and mix until evenly covered. Set aside. When you begin pouring chicken stock into the risotto, place the brussels into the oven to bake. They should be done around the time the risotto is finished.

Now for the risotto. I really wish I had a step-by-step risotto tutorial the first time I tried to make it. The main thing you have to remember is that it takes a good amount of time–you cannot rush risotto. Prepare to spend 40 minutes in front of the stove, stirring and adding chicken stock. For some reason, I find this process relaxing and enjoyable.

Start by sauteing the diced onions in butter and olive oil using a large pan or french oven. After about 5 minutes, when they are fragrant and translucent, add in half a cup of dry white wine. Next, pour yourself and everyone hanging out in your kitchen a glass of wine. Saute and stir for a minute, then add 1 cup of rice. Saute another minute.

On medium-low heat, pour in about half a cup of chicken stock (doesn’t have to be exact), and stir. After a couple minutes, when the rice has absorbed the liquid, add a half a cup more. Continue to do this for about 40 minutes, until the rice is completely soft. Stir often. The risotto in the picture above needs about 10 more minutes and a couple more half cups of chicken stock before it’s ready to go.

When the risotto is done, add in salt and pepper to taste, a fourth cup of grated parmesan, the juice of half a lemon, and the zest of a whole lemon. Stir well. Keep the risotto hot by setting the burner to warm. Next, fry up the bacon lardons and prepare to crust the fish.

Cut the walleye fillets in half and generously salt and pepper both sides. Dip each fillet half in flour, then egg, then the crust mixture–panko breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a large pan on high heat. When the oil is hot, place the 4 crusted fillets in the pan skin side up, and fry until golden brown and crispy. Flip and fry the other side until golden brown. Don’t worry about cooking the middle–this step is for getting that crispy outside crust.

If your saute pan is oven safe, throw it right into the oven for 5 minutes. If not, place the walleye fillets in a baking pan and place in the oven to bake off.

Walleye 152
Now it’s time to plate! Start with a bed of the lemon risotto, then add the walleye and brussels. Sprinkle the bacon onto the brussels, and garnish the dish with leftover fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Let me just say, this dish pairs quite well with the rest of the wine in that bottle. The recipe only calls for half a cup of wine, and it’s already been opened, so you really have no choice but to drink the rest with dinner.

Crusted Walleye with Lemon Risotto and Roasted Brussels
Serves 2-4, cook time 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 strips thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans or 1 carton of chicken stock (about 3-4 cups total)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 walleye fillets (any size)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used parsley, oregano and thyme)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the brussels sprouts, olive oil and salt and pepper into a baking pan. Mix until the brussels are evenly coated. Roast in oven for 40 minutes, or until the brussels are browned and soft. If you put them in the oven when you start adding chicken stock to the risotto, they should be done around the time the risotto is finished.
  3. In a saute pan with high sides or a French oven, saute the diced onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of butter for 5 minutes on high heat.
  4. Add in half a cup of dry white wine and stir. Saute 1 minute. Add in the rice. Saute another minute.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir in the chicken stock a half a cup at a time. When the liquid has been absorbed, add in another half cup, and so on. Stir frequently. When the rice is completely soft, the risotto has finished. This takes about 40 minutes and most of the chicken stock. Measuring the stock is not important–you’ll know when the risotto is done.
  6. Stir in the parmesan, the zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half a lemon to the risotto. Lower the heat to warm and cover to keep hot.
  7. Fry the bacon lardons and remove the brussels from the oven.
  8. In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the herb mixture and panko breadcrumbs. Make sure to save some herbs for garnish.
  9. Place the flower and egg mixture in separate bowls.
  10. Cut the walleye fillets in half and generously salt and pepper both sides.
  11. Assembly line style, dip the fillets in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture. If you run low on the panko herb mixture, just add a bit more to make sure all the walleye fillets have a nice crust.
  12. In a saute pan on high heat, pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When the oil is hot, add in the fillets and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and saute until the other side is golden brown.
  13. In an oven safe pan, bake off the fillets for 5 minutes.
  14. Serve with fresh herbs and lemon slices, and enjoy with your lovah.

Chili Two Ways: Cincinnati and Southwestern

While I’m really not fussed about the Superbowl, football, or sports in general, I sure do love game day food. If you see me at a Superbowl party in the future, and I have a fanatical, excited look in my eyes, rest assured–it’s because of the food.

Chili is your game day staple. I love the stuff. Today I made a huge batch, and presented it two different ways. For the Southwestern style I served it in a bowl, topped with shredded cheddar, slices of avocado and green onions, maybe with a little more hot sauce added to it. In Cincinnati, they do it a little different. Actually very different. Ohioans top spaghetti noodles with chili that’s a little sweeter than normal, and pile on cheddar cheese and diced onions. Weird, huh? Weird, but also so awesome.

The chili itself is Cincinnati style, adapted from the blog Sweet Pea’s Kitchen. It’s warm, hearty and on the sweet side. Hands down the best tasting chili around.

Chili 065
Cincinnati chili and chili Southwestern style

ngredient list: Cayenne pepper, oregano, cinnamon, black pepper, chili powder, chicken broth (only 1 needed), canola oil, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce, cocoa, salt, sugar, 2 cups of diced onions, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 lbs of ground chuck. Note: ignore the flour–not sure why I included it. Add in a can of kidney beans.

Chili 043
Accompaniments: For Southwestern chili–avocado slices, green onion, shredded cheddar. For Cincinnati chili–buttered spaghetti noodles, raw diced onions, shredded cheddar.

Pour the raw meat into a large saucepan of boiling water. Break up the meat into strands, and wait until it starts foaming. Just before the liquid starts to boil again, drain the meat and set aside.

Mix together all the spices in a small bowl.

In the large saucepan, saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, then pour in the spice mixture. Saute 30 seconds more.

Mix in the broth, water, vinegar, sugar and tomato sauce. Add in the ground beef and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about an hour (or until desired consistency is reached), stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings to taste, and it’s ready to eat!

Southwestern style chili – served with hot sauce, avocado slices, green onions, hot sauce and shredded cheese.

Cincinnati style chili – buttered spaghetti noodles topped with shredded cheddar cheese and diced onions.

Chili Two Ways
Serves 5, cook time 1.5 hours

  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 lbs ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • .5 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • .25 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (1 can) chicken broth
  • 2 cups H20
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups canned tomato sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 lb buttered spaghetti noodles
  • Diced raw onions
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sliced green onions
  • Sliced avocado
  • Hot sauce
  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add in the raw ground beef, and stir until the beef is separated into strands.
  2. Wait for the liquid to foam. Right before it begins to boil again, drain the meat and set aside. Clean out the saucepan to use again.
  3. Mix together all of the spices (chili powder, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, salt) in a small bowl.
  4. Saute the onions and garlic with the canola oil, about 5 minutes. Pour the spice mixture into the saucepan and saute about 30 seconds.
  5. Pour in the broth, water, vinegar, brown sugar and tomato sauce. Stir until completely mixed.
  6. Add in the ground beef. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until thickened. Stir occasionally.
  7. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  8. Present Cincinnati or Southwestern style – and enjoy!