Our 21st anniversary is coming up later this month and it had me thinking about some of the food we used to eat when we were dating.
At the time, my "news bureau" was located in a strip mall on US 19 in Clearwater next to a really good Cuban cafe, but our favorite place to meet for lunch was Skyline Chili. How we managed to consume as much as we did back then I'll never know. We could never make up our minds about what to order so William usually ended up getting a cheese coney and a three way. My weakness was for the chili burrito deluxe and a three way. We both worked a lot of hours and chased around looking for things to write about the municipalities we covered, so maybe we needed the fuel.
After our twins were born and eating out was not an option, I had to find a way to satisfy the Skyline cravings at home. My recipe might not pass a side-by-side taste test but it's still pretty darn good. My twist is to use V8® vegetable juice to make this a little bit healthier.
Note: The beef in this recipe is not browned but added to the liquid and spices raw.
Almost Skyline Chili
1 large onion, finely minced or pureed in food processor
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
2 or 3 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbs cocoa
5 whole bay leaves
chopped onion (optional)
finely shredded cheddar cheese (definitely NOT optional - the more the merrier)
kidney beans (optional)
Oyster crackers (not optional in this house)
Combine all of the chili ingredients in a 5 quart Dutch oven.
Simmer uncovered for 1/2 hour.
Cover and simmer for an additional 2 1/2 hours, stirring occassionally.
Serve with lots of cheese and your choice of the other toppings.