Five-Way Cincinnati Chili

If you’ve got company coming over – or if you’re just looking to spice things up on your own – Josh Ozersky’s take on Cincinnati chili is an easy way to eat all your food groups at once. Just pile this chili on a big bowl of pasta before sprinkling liberally with cheese and you have an American classic before you.

Video Transcript

Hi I'm Josh Ozersky, and this is Today we're doing Cincinnati style skyline chili, five ways. A five way, despite it's perverse connotations, in fact is something as simple and wholesome as chili over spaghetti with onions and Velveeta and a little bit of sour cream. Those are the five elements, the quinque viae as Thomas Aquinas says. It all starts as so much does by putting chopped garlic into hot oil. The chopped garlic goes into the hot oil and the oil gets flavored with garlic. Then, once that's just beginning to turn brown, that takes about like, it doesn't even turn brown. It's just enough to like release into the oil, five seconds later I've chopped up some onion. I'm going to throw some onion in there. This is going good. I'll add a little bit of salt because salt is good and it's especially good to onions which like the sweat. By the way he said reaching for the meat, this is excellent for tailgating purposes like the made right, the scrapple layer cake and so many of my other signature unhealthy recipes, this is something that is very good for fat drunk people standing around in parking lots in the Winter. So in goes the meat and not much complexity here, no elaborate grinds, no blends, no veal, no pork, just ground chuck from the super market, liberally salted and then mashed around angrily with a wooden spoon. Like any kind of thing like this that you make with hamburger meat, you don't have to cook it, you just want to get rid of that raw color like it shouldn't actually look appetizing per say, it's enough that it looks half cooked. Now what I'm going to do to make chili is really not that complicated, chili needs to have meat in it because it's Chili Con Carne, really all it is is meat and then it needs to have chili so I have some of these nice smoked whole chiles, we get these where I live in local Mexican bodegas. The fact of the matter is that cumin has a lot more to do with the flavor of chili than chili does and they're even those of us who have been known to cheat and jack in a little hot sauce as it goes but I would never admit to that. I have a bowl. It has got tomatoes in it. I have got a block of Velveeta cheese. I've got some cumin, some salt, a big knife, some tomato paste and I like to put a bottle of Guinness in there because I think that chili should be dark and it should be rich and it should have some acid in it and whatever. This is pinkish now rather than grossly red. I am going to add in some of these tomatoes here and we have some of our Rachael Ray beef stock which is as you can imagine, my favorite brand. I'm going to add some of this in here, not too much and I am going to add in a bottle of Guinness. There's some tomato pieces in here because you want to have a little bit of sweetness and now I am going to add in my flavors that make it hot and that make it chili. So foremost among these will be chili. We'll mix that in good and then cumin. You want to have a lot of cumin. Cumin is like this like secret magic flavor that it's not hot and no one even think of it as a spice or a seasoning but it, like if you smell it, it's the actual flavor of chili. Like chili, they should call chili, cumin. They should call it like cumin con carne because that's like what it is. I want to get some real chile in there. Now what you'll notice is as I'm cutting this chile up, there's seeds flying everywhere. Those seeds are what actually makes the chile hot. That is where the capsaicin, is that how we say it, capsaicin, the volatile oils that actually make things hot, they reside largely in the seeds. The skin is cool looking but it doesn't really have a ton of flavor, however, I like to put some in because it being chili, it's cool if there's whole chiles in there. I'm just going to end up pulling them out anyway but I'm convinced superstitiously that they're going to add flavor to it as it cooks down. We're going to need some tomato paste, I keep some pureed tomato around just for exigencies like this. I'm going to add that in. Now I think we're about good to go. I'm going to let this cook down for 15 to 20 minutes. Alright so my chili is all done now and boy is it good. I noticed midway through that it wasn't as thick as I wanted it to be and I realized looking at it that there was no beans in it, what kind of a person forgets to put beans in the chili so I opened up a can of beans, I poured it in and more importantly, the thick goo that contains the beans, it served to thicken the chili and now my spaghetti is ready. Now the reason my skyline chili is better than the one you get at Steak N Shake or wherever, is that I make it like a real pasta sauce. So I've got some spaghetti here and while it's nice and hot, it just came out of the water so it's thirsty and while it's thirsty I need to quench it with a little bit of chili which will be greasy and I'm going to mix this up and emulsify it. I want to get a little bit of the pasta water which is basically like a kind of glue now and I want the spaghetti while it's thirsty to begin to absorb the sauce. Would it really be that terrible if I took a little bit of sour cream too and I used that as an element to emulsify with to give it a little creaminess almost to make it like a cream sauce? Oh my God, look how freaking good that looks. Now that it's done that, we can really lay the chili on, so on goes the chili and on goes the chili. Aw, isn't that nice, down come my little cubes of Velveeta, look at this, how good does this look? You know I'm going to, it's all going to get mixed together but still even so and then a nice dollop of sour cream on top. Alright, so I have four of my five things. I've got my Velveeta, I've got my chili, I've got my spaghettis, I've got all that sour cream, Velveeta, now I'm going to put some onions around here, oh baby, look at this, look at this, how beautiful is that. But I'm not saying that you should necessarily make a huge bowl of spaghetti with chili and Velveeta for you and your friends or better still for you to sit around by yourself watching NFL highlight films with at three in the morning, but if you did, I would approve. I'm Josh Ozersky, and this is

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