Monday, February 14, 2011

Epic Valentinapalooza Cincinnati Chili Lasagna

      We all know that true Valentines gifts are not about how much money is spent or how extravagant the evening might be. If you asked most people, feeling cared for and cherished on Valentines Day tops their wish list. To show John how much I love him I have developed a twist on the classic Cincinnati Chili recipe. I’ve taken this special dish and turned it into a delicious lasagna. I hope it will remind him of his hometown and how grateful I am for his love in my life. The people we love are a product of all their history and experiences. When a piece of John’s history is this delicious I can’t help but want to share it with him on this special Day.
Preparing the ingredients
       One of the first things you learn about Cincinnatians is the love they have for their food traditions. When one asks a local for advice on what to do in town the answer will invariably be a list of the most amazing places to eat. These ice cream parlors, grocery shops, bakeries and butcher shops are described with pride and affection and are as much a part of their history as Riverfront stadium. A million memories of family, friends and growing up are tied to each one. When you see the smiles on their faces and the light in their eyes as they share these recollections you instantly understand who they are. It is the connection we all have to food memories and feelings and nowhere have I found it to be more evident than in Cincinnati.
Chocolate helps make this dish oh so perfect for Valentine's Day

     It was there I was first introduced to the glories of the delectable Cincinnati Chili. This is not the earthy sturdy Chili of Texas or New Mexico whose flavors fed the west. The Western Chili has a refined sophisticated Northern sister who has traveled the world picking up ingredients as souvenirs, hints of exotic flavors is so tantalizingly different that your palette is at once surprised and intrigued and you must have more.
I prepared homemade pasta try it once and you will always want to prepare it yourself  
 Cincinnati Chili Lasagna
½-3/4          Onion (diced)             
1/2 lb            Ground beef  
½ lb              Ground pork     
3/4 Tbs        Chili powder
2-4                Cloves garlic      
1/2 tsp          Allspice
3/4 tsp         Cinnamon
1/2 tsp          Cumin
1/4 tsp          Cayenne
1 ½ tsp          Salt
1/4 oz            Chocolate  (1-2 Tbs)       
½-3/4 Tbs   Cider vinegar
1/4 cup         Water
1 24 oz can   Tomato diced   
½-3/4 tbs    Worcestershire sauce
1                      Bay leaf
This chili smells as good as it tastes

I sauté the onion beef till just about done
Add garlic & chili powder 
(I grated the garlic on a garlic grater)

Add allspice cumin cayenne pepper, salt, chocolate
Tomatoes, cider vinegar &
Worcestershire sauce

I add a bay leaf (remove before serving)
Simmer for about an hour

Begin the lasagna process by layering a small bit of the chili on the bottom of the dish
Lay out the cooked pasta sheets
Ladle chili evenly over pasta
Sprinkle finely grated cheddar on top
Lay next layer of cooked pasta sheets
Ladle more chili on top
Sprinkle more cheddar on top
Continue till done
Top with cheddar
Bake at 350 degrees till bubbly and hot
Ready to pop in the oven

Serve with grated cheddar
Diced onion and even red beans if you wish.
Happy Valentine's Day from home to yours.

1 comment:

arborandvine said...

Wow! That sounds incredible! Chili is not one of my specialties by any means, so I don't get very excited about it. But this recipe and with it being lasagna style, I think I might just try it! It's got to be far better than mine. LOL! Thanks as always Debra. Big smile!