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Skyline Chili

"For those of us who live in Cincinnati, Ohio and eat this seemingly peculiar concoction regularly, the recipe below IS Cincinnati Chili (translate that Skyline, Gold Star or Empress Chili). There are no crushed tomatoes or chili powder in it and the ground beef is not pre-browned. The Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar (not white), cloves, cumin, chocolate and cayenne pepper are all essential to the recipe as are the amounts of onion and garlic. Depending on the size of the pan used, the recipe can be doubled or tripled."

1 quart water
2 pounds ground chuck, crumbled
2 medium onions, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed (use garlic press) or minced
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
10 peppercorns, ground
8 whole allspice, ground
8 whole cloves, ground
1 large bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated

Bring water to boil in a 4-6 quart pot. Add the ground chuck (do not brown first). Stir until separated and reduce heat to simmer. Add onions, garlic, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix well. Add peppercorns, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and grated unsweetened chocolate. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 2 1/2 hours cooking time in all. Cool uncovered and refrigerate overnight.

Skim all or most of the fat and discard. Discard bay leaf. Reheat and serve over hot spaghetti, cooked al dente.

Optional toppings

Finely-grated Cheddar cheese, chopped onion, red kidney beans. Serve oyster crackers and red pepper sauce on the side.

Two-Way – spaghetti and chili

Three-Way – spaghetti, chili and Cheddar cheese

Four-Way – spaghetti, chili, Cheddar and chopped onion

Five-Way – spaghetti, chili, Cheddar, onions and red kidney beans

NOTE: The original recipe for Cincinnati Chili was created by John Kiradjieff and first served in Cincinnati’s first chili parlor, The Empress, sometime in the 1920s.