This is a version of Cincinnati chili that I’ve adapted from this recipe.
I replaced the regular spaghetti with spaghetti squash to cut on carbs and was more than pleased with the result. Chili is so comforting for these last – hopefully – cold “winter” nights. In this case the combination of the spaghetti squash’s mild flavor with the spiced beef was awesome and I can’t really be humble here, I nailed it!
According to Canadian Living, this beanless regional specialty is a point of pride in Cincinnati, which is famous for restaurants competing for the best chili. The original recipe is done in a slow cooker, check it out if you’re a fan. I thought cooking the squash in advance was enough preparation for me and chose to do my way using my home made tomato sauce.
I just loved the twist of adding cocoa and cinnamon which took the humble spaghetti squash to another level!
Cincinnati style chili on a bed of spaghetti squash
3 to 4 portions
1 lb lean or extra lean ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 to 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Separate the strands of squash with a fork and place in a medium bowl; discard shells.
In the mean time, in large nonstick skillet, cook onions and garlic in olive oil, add beef and brown it over medium heat, breaking up with back of spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes; drain fat.
Add cocoa, cinnamon, salt, pepper, oregano and tomato sauce, bringing to a simmer.
Cover and cook on low until thick enough to mound on spoon, around 10 min. Whisk flour with 1 tbsp water; stir into chili. Cover and cook on high until thickened.
Mix the strands of squash with butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. At this point if the squash is not warm, heat it up quickly with the butter. Add the chili, top it with cheese and enjoy!