Sunday, December 20, 2009

Need sustenance after hard game of hockey? Try my world-famous chili recipe!

After a hard couple of hours of skating poorly, making inept passes to the wrong team, getting beat by school girls, toppling over for no apparent reason and pulling the trigger on pathetically weak shots that dribble at the speed of a tortoise past their target (if they make it that far), I sure like to sit down to a hot meal.

Specifically, my own world famous Cincinnati chili. No, I didn't invent Cincy chili. I was only born there. But in my 23 years of living in the Queen City, I probably ate hundreds of gallons of the stuff and concocted my own recipe to capture the magic that is Cincinnati chili.

So, you are probably asking, what exactly is the big deal about Cincinnati chili?

Glad you asked!

Unlike that slop that snobbish Texans serve and call chili, Cincy chili utilizes beans. As all chili should. Cincy chili also is down-home enough to employ simple, tasty ground beef and is also far sweeter than the bland bowl of chewy meat some deranged Texan may serve you. The sweetness comes from a variety of secret spices, all of which are listed below.

In Cincinnati, there are a variety of chili parlors around town that serve chili over pasta. The chili is then topped with grated cheddar cheese and raw chopped onion. It is good any time of the day -- even breakfast, if you're drunk enough -- but is especially good when it's late at night, you're perhaps not 100% sober and it's become very clear that there's no way on God's green Earth you're getting laid that evening. It is still, after all, chili. And I'd hate to hear about any embarrasing backfires that can be attributed to a gorgeous bowl of my chili.

If you're ever passing through Cincy, btw, the best chili parlor is Skyline Chili. Gold Star can be found in the terminals at the Cincy airport, and it's not bad, but it ain't Skyline. 

How good is my chili?

Well, I made some once in the mid-1990s for a party and actually caught a dude eating it straight out of the pot in the kitchen. While that's completely disgusting, I was secretly complimented that the fat-ass slob found my chili so tasty that he couldn't wait to consume it in true Jabba the Hutt (see below) fashion. 

But enough of me complimenting my culinary skills. Let's have at it: 

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 pound ground beef
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans (optional)
at least 3 tbspn of chili powder (I prefer McCormicks or Gebhardts)
at least 2 bbspn of ground cumin
1 teaspn cinnamon
1 teaspn allspice
1 teaspn unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspn sugar
1 yellow or banana pepper, finely chopped
Tabasco sauce
Worcestershire sauce
1 big yellow onion, chopped
1 bag finely grated cheddar cheese

1. Empty the can of crushed tomatoes into a big chili pot and put on simmer.
2. Open a beer and begin drinking.
3. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, chocolate and pepper. Mindlessly stir for a couple of minutes.
4. Add a few splashes of Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mindlessly stir some more.
5. Add the sugar. More mindless stirring.
6. If you don't already have some Bruce pounding on the stereo, now would be a good time to turn it up. See suggested mix below.
7. Dice the big yellow onion. Cry like the baby you are.
8. Toss a splash of olive oil in a skillet and cook that onion for about five minutes, until translucent.
9. Add the ground beef (or turkey or whatever meat-like product floats your boat). Cook until brown, drain the beef and the onion and add to the chili pot.
10. Stir for a few minutes. This is the most important stir, so give it some elbow grease.
11. Cover the chili pot, leaving it to simmer for 45 minutes. No peeking!
12. At the end of 45 minutes -- by now you should be on beer #2 -- uncover the chili pot. Breathe it in. Stir!
13. Let it simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Keep drinking.
14. remove chili pot from heat.
15. cook some spaghetti or rice. Put some spaghetti or rice in individual bowls and then pour some chili over the top and then a big handful of cheddar cheese on top of that. Dig in with your fork and mix it all up.
16. Get out the television trays and find something fairly mindless to watch. Works particularly well with football and hockey. Works extremely well, too, with "30 Rock," "Dumb and Dumber," "Office Space," "Old School" and, most of all, "Blades of Glory." I also plan to be eating my chili while watching the NHL's Winter Classic from Fenway Park on New Year's Day.
IT'S A MATHEMATICAL FACT: If you need twice the amount of chili described above, simply double the ingredients! Cool!

More chili variations and other advice after the jump. Don't stop reading now!
The Coney Island variation
1. Boil or grill some kosher dogs. Can't go wrong with Hebrew National.
2. Put dogs on a stout bun.
3. Put some yellow mustard on the dog and then cover mustard with a big dollop of chili and then a handful of the grated cheddar cheese.
4. Feel free to supplement with some finely diced raw white onion and more tobasco sauce.

Warnings, caveats and supplemental advice

1. Some of my favorite beers: Portland honey beer, Speights (good luck finding--it's a New Zealand beer not currently exporing to the U.S. Bummer!), Boont Amber ale from California's Anderson Valley Brewing Company. If you really want to get buzzed, try Blue Dot Hair of the Dog from Portland. They call it beer, but it's more like moonshine.
2. Excellent Springsteen mix to try: My Lucky Day/Radio Nowhere/Lonesome Day/Let's be Friends/Man's Job/Working on a Dream/I'll Work for Your Love/Girls in their Summer Clothes/Secret Garden/Mary's Place/Janey Don't Lose Heart/The Rising/Long Walk Home/My City of Ruins/Tomorrow Never Knows
3. My recipe doesn't splatter as much as the type you buy in Cincy chili parlors, but I still advise wearing dark clothes. DO NOT WEAR A WHITE SHIRT WHEN COOKING OR EATING UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!

--Steve Hymon

1 comment:

  1. I've been following your blog and on-ice escapades for a couple months now. Stick with it, it gets better.
    I'm a former colleague of yours at the Times. My name's John Vande Wege and I was one of the video journalists (Class of May '09).
    I'm also a proud memeber of the Div.3 Chiefs in the Burbank Senior Hockey League--BSHL, with the emphasis on BS. We've been skating together for 15 years, won our share of championships and now watch as our skills steadily erode. Of course, we've added some new blood over the years and they've become part of the family. But even after 15 years I still see guys tripping over the blue line, scoring on shots clocked at 5mph and making tape-to-tape passes that give the other team a scoring opportunity.
    I'm not touching the schoolgirls comment. You're going to have to live with that.
    So, keep it up. It'll be the most fun you've ever had.