Forecast – Chili Today!

A 76th anniversary is a significant milestone.  Servicing customers 24 hours, 6 days a week with a line out the door, speaks volumes.  The award-winning, secret chili recipe of Camp Washington Chili Parlor definitely has bragging rights and today, the restaurant, is celebrating its 76th anniversary!

According to the website, “Camp Washington Chili has earned the James Beard Award as an American Regional Classic for its timeless appeal and its commitment to quality food.”  Smithsonian Magazine named the restaurant as one of  “The 20 Most Iconic Food Destinations Across America.”

Camp Washington is a funky part of town and is home National Register historic buildings, industrial space and 19th century homes.  Close to the University of Cincinnati, you’ll see college students, blue, white and no collar workers and many immigrants mixing and mingling.

Awards or not, many out of town food critics (often legends in their own mind) seem miss the point and bash our regional fare.  Cincinnati-style chili is unique and not always what many think of as chili.  I’m a born and bred west-side girl, from Cincinnati and I’ll admit it freely, I’m not a huge fan of Cincinnati-style chili.  Those words alone are enough to provoke a cocked eyebrow from fellow Cincinnatians and perhaps even find a bag over my head only to wake up in another state!

Various resources define chili (also chile, chili con carne or chilli) as a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef) and often tomatoes, beans, garlic, onions and cumin.  Cincinnati-style chili has a different consistency and most likely contains  cinnamon, cloves, allspice and chocolate. Let’s save the in-depth discussion of Cincinnati-style chili for another day.  However, this is the perfect time to showcase other chili recipes.  So, get ready because the forecast looks chili today!

No less than four regional recipe books will be tapped for this chili-centric post:  Cooking with the Queen – Delicacies from the Hive; Salt & Pepper to Taste; Pots, Pans and Pioneers III and Partners in the Kitchen – Simply Decent Cooking.  All four recipe books are now prized possessions after being rescued from a local Goodwill store.  And, here’s a tip-of-the-hat to Goodwill Industries International, Inc. for doing such great work in the world.  That includes feeding my recipe book addiction!


  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped pepper
  • 1/2 c chopped celery
  • 2 (16 oz) cans kidney beans
  • 1 (16 oz) can or 1 c frozen green beans
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 cans water
  • 1 T chili powder, more or less to taste
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 1/4 c honey

Brown meat. Cook chopped vegetables with meat 3 minutes. Mix paste, water, chili powder, vinegar and honey in a large saucepan. Add drained meat and vegetables.  Simmer 1 hour.

This recipe was contributed to Cooking with the Queen – Delicacies from the Hive by Jane S. Grilley.

Chili Con Carne

  • 3 lbs chopped meat
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T salt
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce or hot pepper
  • 3 c beef consommé
  • Beef fat

In a heavy saucepan, cook onions slowly until very soft, but not burnt. Add meat, garlic and salt. Brown the meat, tossing well so that garlic and onions are thoroughly mixed with meat. Add chili powder, cumin, Tabasco and beef consommé. Cover and allow to simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  The consommé should be reduced so that the mixture has a heavy consistency. Serves 4-6.

From my very own autographed copy of  Salt & Pepper to Taste.

Texas Red Chili

  • 1/8 lb suet, finely chopped
  • 6 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground oregano
  • 1 T crushed cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t Tabasco pepper sauce
  • 1/2 c corn meal
  • 3 lb round steak, coarsely cubed or 3 lb chili ground meat
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 qt water

Fry suet until crisp. Add steak cubes and brown. Add all seasonings, corn meal and water; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring.

This recipe, found in Pots, Pans and Pioneers III was contributed by Albina Talley, Le Bayou Council in Houma, LA.

Wild Card Chili

  • 1 lb chopped beef
  • 1/2 c chopped onion
  • 1 (16 oz) can red beans
  • 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 c water
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t hot red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/8 t garlic salt
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 1 T molasses

Brown beef with onion in a Dutch oven; pour off fat. Add remaining ingredients; cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 servings.

From Pots, Pans and Pioneers III, too, this recipe was contributed by Charlene McKneely, Central Council in Pineville, LA.


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 (10 oz) cans tomato soup
  • 1 soup can water
  • 1/2 c catsup
  • 1 or 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 to 2 T brown sugar
  • Prepared mustard to taste
  • Chili powder to taste

Brown ground beef in saucepan, stirring until crumbly; drain. Stir in beans, soup, water, catsup, onions, brown sugar, mustard and chili powder. Cook over low heat for 1 hour or until of the desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Ladle into chili bowls. 6 servings.

This recipe was contributed to Partners in the Kitchen – Simple Decent Cooking by Philomena Novicky, Mercer County HFH, West Middlesex, PA.


Resource Attribution:  Eastern Connecticut Beekeepers Association, Cooking with the Queen – Delicacies from the Hive. Waseca, MN, Walter’s Cookbooks; Habitat for Humanity International, Partners in the Kitchen – Simple Decent Cooking. Nashville, TN: Favorite Recipes Press, 1997; Telephone Pioneers of America – Louisiana Chapter No. 24. Pots, Pans and Pioneers III. Lenexa, KS: Cookbook Publishers, Inc. 1983 and Truncellito, Jo and Louis, Salt & Pepper to Taste. Washington, DC: Brown & Cameron Publishers, 1967.


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