With the Bengals playing in the Super Bowl, it was imperative I prepare copycat Skyline Chili as an homage to Cincinnati’s team. Chili is the most famous dish in Cincinnati and Skyline is the most famous purveyor. Sure, you can ship cans of the stuff straight to your home, but it’s also super easy to replicate so I’d recommend doing that. The most important thing to know is how to eat this chili. For starters, it’s a meat-only chili (which is how they do in Texas and how we roll in our household – get outta here, beans). The chili is then serves atop a pile of spaghetti or maybe a hot dog and ordered as a 3-way (spaghetti + chili + cheese), 4-way (spaghetti + chili + cheese + onions or beans), or 5-way (spaghetti + chili + cheese + onions + beans). For our tiny Super Bowl party (there were only three of us), I set up a chili bar so we could each make our own 4-way. I used this recipe as a base and, while I accidentally put in too much clove, it was great and just how I like my chili.
For the base of the chili, add 1 6-oz can of tomato paste + 6 can-fulls of water to a large pot. Add some chocolate (I used a handful of semisweet baking chocolate chips) and heat over medium, whisking until it’s combined. Add chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, cumin, allspice (I didn’t have this and it was fine), cloves, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, 1/2 tsp sugar and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Now it’s meat time. You want the meat to be in tiny pieces so use your hands to break up 1 lb of ground beef as you place it in the pot and then use the whisk to break it up further as you stir everything together. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring down to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. You’ll be left with a suuuper thick chili that’s almost like a bolognese. Serve with spaghetti, shredded cheese, and diced onion. Don’t worry about garnish or anything fancy – that’s not what this is about.
This is my kinda chili, all thick and meaty. And combining it with pasta? Now you’ve really got my attention. Why doesn’t everyone serve chili like this?