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Sweet Pea's Kitchen Cookbook

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Cincinnati “Skyline” Chili is one of my favorite meals to get when I go to my hometown in Columbus, Ohio. (Go Bucks! :)) If you have never had the privilege of dining at Skyline Chili you are missing out! This fast food chain serves up hot buttery spaghetti smothered with delicious chili and topped with a mound of shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions and red kidney beans. For those of you from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, or Florida you know this meal as a “5-Way-Chili” I also love using this chili recipe to make cheese coneys as well. Top a hotdog with chili, mustard, diced onions and shredded cheddar cheese. This Midwestern chili recipe is probably nothing like the chili you are used to. Cincinnati chili is seasoned with cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, and oregano. Tomato paste adds richness and color, while dark brown sugar gives it a molasses tang. For a true Cincinnati chili experience, serve the chili over spaghetti and top with cheddar cheese, onions, beans, and oyster crackers.

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Cincinnati Chili

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  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups plain canned tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste


  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked, drained, and tossed with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed, and warmed
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped fine (1 cup)
  • oyster crackers

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  • In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the ground beef, stirring vigorously to separate the meat into individual strands. As soon as the foam from the meat rises to the top, about 30 seconds and before the water returns to a boil, drain the meat into a strainer and set it aside.
  • Using the same pot, rinse and dry the pot and set over medium heat; add vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and browned around the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, black pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, water, vinegar, sugar, and tomato sauce, scraping the pan bottom to remove any browned bits.
  • Add the ground beef and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chili is deep red and has thickened slightly, about 1 hour. Add the hot sauce and adjust the seasonings to taste.
  • Divide the buttered spaghetti among individual bowls. Spoon the chili over the spaghetti and top with the cheese, beans, and onion.
Author: Laura

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Source: Porter House

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