The flavor of my chili is a mingling of our roots. My husband is from Texas, while I descend from Greek immigrants (or at least 25% of me does). His Texas chili simmers in its own juices, tomato paste, spicy heat, and no beans. My Greek chili (which I now know as Cincinnati chili) has a sweet cocoa and cinnamon edge. Let me introduce you to Texas Cincinnati Chili with Malbec. The recipe below combines them both into a bowl of red that can’t be beat. I have been slowly tweaking this for years and believe I now have the perfect bowl. Plus, I insist on adding a few cans of diced tomatoes, because as a mom I always add veggies to everything I can! You can adjust the heat to your liking via more or less cayenne, and you can add beans in the final step if you must.
We serve Skillet Cornbread more times than not with Texas Cincinnati chili. Our son usually insists that his portion of chili is served over pasta. A local restaurant that serves both Texas chili as well as Cincinnati chili has two additional suggestions–rice or Fritos! Any food that you can eat with Fritos gets a BIG THUMBS UP from my family.
Chili might seem like a weird dish to pair wines with because so many people prefer beer. I am not one of those people! I recommend my Texas Cincinnati Chili with Malbec or another medium red with higher acid and medium tannins, which is fruit forward. If you like spicier chili, definitely opt for a lower alcohol bottle. Most recently I drank a glass of Gabriele Rausse 2017 Malbec from my home state of Virginia. You can easily try a different Malbec, Shiraz, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Grenache, Pinot Noir, or other Medium Red.
Texas Cincinnati Chili
- 2 pounds ground beef or meatloaf mix <–really good!
- 2 large onion chopped medium to fine
- 4+ cloves garlic minced, about a tablespoon
- 3 tbsp chili powder the mix/blend of spices *ask me how I know
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
- 1/2+ tsp cayenne
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can tomato paste 6 ounces
- 1 bottle beer yueng-ling, sam adams or a somewhat darker style beer–not orange, lime, pumpkin flavored! *ask me how I know
- 3 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- garnish cheddar shedded
- garnish sour cream
- to serve pasta, rice, fritos, or cornbread
- In large pot over medium heat, brown the ground beef. Add onions into meat while cooking. Add garlic. Add all the spices when meat is almost browned, very little pink left. Let cook for 2-3 minutes to bloom spices in meat renderings. Melt in whole can of tomato paste and stir in beer. Bring to a simmer.
- Move meat mixture to a large slow cooker. Stir in cans of tomatoes while in crock pot. Cover and slow cook on low for 4+hours.
- About 30 minutes before dinner, sprinkle in the cornmeal and stir. This will make chili a bit thicker and give it a sweet taste. Remove bay leaf.
- Serve over pasta, rice, fritos, or in a bowl with cornbread. Garnish with cheddar and sourcream.