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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Panegyri Greek Festival

I forgot how much I missed church festivals in Cincinnati. The Greek Festival, at one of the local Greek Orthodox churches, is particularly special, because we have such a large Greek community here, and so much of the culture is reminiscent of Lebanese food, dancing, and dress.

It was a festival, so I wasn't expecting gourmet or anything, but this mezethes plate was very...canned. The fact that it was served on a styrofoam platter by the employees of a local Greek real estate company made it tolerable, maybe even adorable.

The dolls: Russian

The beer: German

The chili: Authentically Greek-lish

Because Ann asked for it, and it fits in with the Greek Festival theme [greek immigrants introduced it here in the 20's] , here is the uncontested, most official, up to date and accurate recipe for Cincinnati chili. Black Beans or TVP can be substituted for the beef with no problem.

This recipe is courtesey of I have never made the stuff from scratch, I prefer to hit up a Skyline at least once when I am in town.

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

1 large onion chopped

1 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa or 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 (16-ounce) package uncooked dried spaghetti pasta

Toppings (see below)

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute onion, ground beef, garlic, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayene pepper, salt, unsweetened cocoa or chocolate, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving plates (small oval plates are traditional).

Ladle chili over spaghetti and serve with toppings of your choice. Oyster crackers are served in a separate container on the side.

Cincinnati chili lovers order their chili by number. Two, Three, Four, or Five Way. Let your guest create their own final product.

Two-Way Chili: Chili served on spaghetti

Three-Way Chili: Additionally topped with shredded Cheddar cheese

Four-Way Chili: Additionally topped with chopped onions

Five-Way Chili: Additionally topped with kidney beans

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