The art of the three-way

Before you get all excited, get your mind out of the gutter.  I’m not talking sexual escapades here, but something even better: Cincinnati-style chili.

Southern Honey and I went to Cincinnati three weeks ago for our anniversary.  It was a great walk down food-memory lane: Grippo’s potato chips, LaRosa’s Pizza, and, wonder of wonders, Skyline Chili.  There we were, strolling down the Coney Island area at King’s Island, the local amusement park, when I found myself filled with a longing for spaghetti topped with that slightly sweet chili and piled high with shredded cheddar cheese.  Now that’s a three-way!

(Actually, I’m going to tell on myself a little bit.  I don’t actually like Skyline’s chili.  Gold Star’s is okay, but what I long for every time I think about Cincinnati-style chili, is a three-way from this tiny restaurant in my hometown.  Run by a lovely Greek couple, it has a menu that runs from gyros to burgers, from Greek salads to three-, four- and five-ways.  I have awesome memories of going there on Senior days at school when we could wander downtown for lunch and meeting my dad there sometimes when I was in college and came home to visit.  If I could recreate their chili, I could die a happy, happy woman.)

The recipe I used wasn’t exactly what I remembered — due in part to me mistaking my teaspoon for a 1/2 teaspoon and nearly doubling the recommended amount of chili powder — but it was seriously good.  I can’t wait to finish off the rest for lunch tomorrow!

Mmmm, cheesy!

Spaghetti, chili, cheese and hot sauce, almost just like I remember it

Cincinnati-Style Chili
Adapted from What’s Cooking America: Cincinnati Chili


1/2 large onion, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 square Ghirardeli unsweetened chocolate, grated
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP cider vinegar (I used white because it was what I had)
1/2 c water
Grated Cheddar cheese*

Saute the onion, ground turkey, garlic and chili powder in a large, deep pan (fryer, cast-iron, whatever you have on hand) until the meat is slightly cooked — which is much, much easier to tell with ground beef than ground turkey.  Oh well.

Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, salt, chocolate, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce (don’t mistake this for soy sauce like I almost did), vinegar and water.  Stir.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Prior to serving, cook spaghetti.  Drain and plate.  Top with chili and cheddar cheese, and enjoy your three-way!

*To make a four-way, add kidney beans or onions.  For a five-way, throw on both the beans and the onions, in addition to the cheese.

About SouthernSugar

A Southern girl who's used to small town life, I found myself moving to Washington, DC, in 2008 for a new job, and living there was an eye-o
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