Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

Go for the works: Cincinnati chili a tasty twist for Super Bowl Sunday

Editor's note: This is a rerun of a Dash of Grace that previously ran in Sauk Valley Media publications on Feb. 2, 2011.

What would Super Bowl Sunday be without chili? It gets a little boring reading about chili every year, though, so I set out to find something different. 

Ever heard of Cincinnati chili? 

Cincinnati is one of the most chili-crazed cities in the United States – it claims to have more than 180 chili parlors, and it calls itself the chili capital of the United States.

Cincinnati-style chili is very different from its Texas cousins.

The people of Cincinnati enjoy their chili spooned over freshly made pasta and topped with a combination of chopped onions, shredded cheddar cheese, refried or kidney beans and crushed oyster crackers.

According to local history, a man named Tom Kiradjieff created Cincinnati chili in 1922. He and his brother, John, opened a small Greek restaurant called The Empress. It did poorly until Kiradjieff started offering "spaghetti chili," made with Middle Eastern spices that could be served in a variety of ways, along with a side order of hot dogs topped with more yellow cheese. 

Cincinnati chili lovers order their chili by number 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-way:

2-way: Chili served on spaghetti

3-way: Additionally topped with shredded cheddar cheese

4-way: Additionally topped with chopped onions

5-way: Additionally topped with kidney beans

Let your guests create their own final product.

Choose "the works," and you are eating 5-way Cincinnati chili. That’s the thing to eat on Super Bowl Sunday in Cincinnati. Just follow the directions:

Cincinnati chili

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

1 large onion, chopped

1 pound 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 tablespoons 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 (plain oyster crackers, crushed, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions and kidney beans)

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

Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving plates. Ladle chili over spaghetti and serve with the toppings of your choice. 

–Recipe provided by the Certified Angus Beef brand

These spiced oyster crackers, below, are served in a separate container on the side, as a snack, not part of the Cincinnati chili. 

Spiced oyster crackers

Remember these little nibbles? Most of the recipes for these oyster crackers require baking, but not this one. They take 5 minutes to make, but need to sit at least an hour. Makes a bag full to pass around at the game.

1 large package oyster crackers

1 package dry Hidden Valley salad dressing mix

3/4 cup oil

2 teaspoons dill

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Put in a plastic bag and shake. Let sit for at least an hour.

Classic beef stew

(Not everyone likes chili)

Makes about 3 quarts, serves 8

3 pounds chuck roast, chuck eye roast or stew beef, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

2 large onions, large dice

3 large carrots, diagonally cut to 1-inch chunks

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups red wine

2 cups beef stock

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

3 pounds Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Remove top rack from oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Season beef with salt and pepper. Put half of oil in a Dutch oven (or ovenproof heavy pot with tight-fitting lid) over medium high heat. Just as the oil begins to smoke, add half of beef evenly spaced. Brown on all sides and transfer to a plate. Add remaining oil, sear remaining beef; remove from pan.

Add onions, carrot, garlic and tomato paste. Stir over medium-high heat, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan, 2 or 3 minutes. Add flour and stir to combine. Add red wine and continue simmering on medium-low heat until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef, beef stock, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil, again scraping sides and bottom clean; put lid on Dutch oven and place in the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Add potatoes and rosemary, and continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about an hour. If needed, add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve, garnished with fresh parsley.

Good with any hot bread: Buns, baking powder biscuits, garlic bread.

Nutritional information per serving: 444 calories; 9 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 90 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 4 g dietary fiber; 42 g protein; 1,440 mg sodium.

–Recipe provided by the Certified Angus Beef brand

Beer chili

Makes 15 cups, about 10 servings

3 pounds sirloin-tip roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1/4 cup olive oil 

3 medium onions, chopped 

4 cloves garlic, minced 

3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped 

1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped (canned if available)

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin 

1 tablespoon dried oregano 

1/4 cup chili powder 

1 tablespoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons dry thyme

1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer 

1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes 

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (14-ounce) can black beans 

(14-ounce) can chili beans

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season beef cubes with salt and pepper. Brown in two batches for 3 to 4 minutes per batch; set aside beef once browned. 

Add onions, garlic and peppers to pot. Cook 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat. Return beef to pot and stir in cumin, oregano, chili powder, paprika and thyme. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add beer and scrape bottom of pot clean; bring to a boil and allow foam to subside, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and tomato paste; stir well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add beans and green chilies; cook an additional hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired. 

Serve with your choice of toppings. Cornbread also is an excellent accompaniment. 

Nutritional information per serving: 364 calories; 14 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 90 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 3 g dietary fiber; 37 g protein; 693 mg sodium.

–Recipe provided by the Certified Angus Beef brand

Beef and bean tortilla bake

Time: Less than 1 hour

At first glance, it appears to be just another version of the popular taco pie, but it is different, with a different taste. 

Serves 6

1 pound lean (at least 90 percent) ground beef

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed, drained

1 can (15 to 16 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed, drained

1 can (14.5 ounces) canned tomatoes, do not drain

1 envelope (1 ounce) taco seasoning mix

2/3 cup water

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

3 spinach-flavored flour tortillas (8 inch), cut in half, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain. Stir in black beans, pinto beans, tomatoes, taco seasoning mix and water. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese.

In 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish, spread 2 cups of the beef mixture. Top with half of the tortilla strips. Spoon half of the remaining beef mixture over tortilla strips. Add remaining tortilla strips; top with remaining beef mixture.

Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake about 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Cut into squares.

Serve with hot cornbread or crispy rolls, and chopped lettuce and tomatoes for garnish.

Grace’s chili

Here is the easy, never-fail chili recipe I promised you a couple of weeks ago – the chili I make all the time. I cook it in a big electric pot, not a slow cooker.

Brown together:

3 pounds ground beef

3 large onions, cut in half, then into thick slices

4 pepperoncini peppers, sliced thick, optional

3 cloves garlic, minced


3 packages chili seasoning (any brand, hot and spicy or mild)

2 cans sliced tomatoes, undrained

1 can chili beans, undrained

1 can pinto beans, undrained

1 can northern white beans, undrained

Bring to boil and simmer over low heat for an hour or 2, whatever it takes and whenever you want to eat it. Stir occasionally, scraping bottom. Add water if needed, but it should be thick.

Serve with bowls of chopped onions and grated cheddar cheese, along with crackers and big hunks of buttered cornbread baked in a big buttered iron skillet.

Tip of the week

Onions have a lot of sugar, which can easily burn and become bitter. But it also can be turned into sweet caramel if cooked slowly. It takes patience, but it’s worth it. It can make the difference between well-made soup and chili, or mediocre.

Loading more