Cincinnati Chili Travels To Bartlett, Illinois

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What can I say? If you don’t already know me, let me explain a little something to you. I, can not, not, play around with a recipe and make it my own. It’s what I do. It’s whom I’ve always been…

And so it is with this case of Cincinnati Chili. I thought it was time that the original recipe take a little trip to Bartlett, Illinois and spend a some time with me here in my Kudos Kitchen 🙂

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

I adapted this recipe from a cookbook by Marlene Koch called “Eat More Of What You Love” and it’s almost completely changed from its original form. As always, to me, cookbooks are just a starting point. After that, I let my creativity take over!  It’s what keeps cooking fun and exciting for me and never, ever boring!

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

When reading through the ingredients, don’t let the unusual list of  herbs and spices scare you away. Some of them may seem strange to you when cooking a savory dish, but let me guarantee that they all work deliciously together. There is an amazing depth of smoky sweet flavor here that will wake up each and every one of your taste buds! I completely guarantee it!

Servings: 8              Prep time: 20 minutes              Bake time: 20 minutes

1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red pepper, seeded and medium chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 29 ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
1  16 ounce box Rotini pasta that has been cooked and drained
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 – 5 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-In a large Dutch oven, over medium/high heat, cook the bacon until just shy of crumbly. Drain off some (but not all) of the bacon grease.

-Add in the ground beef and cook until slightly browned, stirring occasionally.

-Add in the chopped onion, garlic and red pepper. Cook the mixture an additional 3-4 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium/low, stirring occasionally.

-Add the next 10 ingredients and stir well to combine.

-Carefully add the tomato puree, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and beef broth. Cover and stir occasionally. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

-Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish by spraying with cooking spray and layer in the cooked Rotini pasta.

-Ladle the chili sauce evenly over the cooked pasta and top with the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and sprinkle the green onions over the top just before serving.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on the iconic Cincinnati Chili. I know I took some great liberties with the recipe, but it’s what adds spice and heat into my kitchen and my life. Much like a chili pepper itself 🙂

Chili Pepper Painted Oil Bottle

                             Kudos Kitchen By Renee ~ Where food and art collide on a regular basis!

Until we eat again,


  1. I've never had Cincinnati Chili – this looks delicious!

  2. Wow, this looks like it is packed with flavor, espresso powder? That sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing Renee.

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