Amish Cook Classic: Homemade Chili Soup

Homemade chilli soup
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What a wonderful recipe this is, and it makes me very nostalgic.  This is Elizabeth Coblentz’s famous recipe for homemade chili soup. She used fresh sausage in place of hamburger and it just made a really tasty “chili soup” as she would call it.  Now, if you are reading this from Cincinnati…we’re strange here…We have our chili as…well, to outsiders it sounds..uh, not so good…our chilis are known as “three ways”, “four ways” and even “five ways” withj spaghetti, cheese, onion…How many Skyline or Gold Star Chili fans do we have among our readers? (sorry, unless you are from Greater Cincinnati you won’t know what Skyline or Gold Star is) Okay, here is Elizabeth’s recipe for homemade chili soup and this is for people everywhere, not just Cincy:)  For newcomers, Elizabeth Coblentz was the original Amish Cook columnist who wrote it from 1991 – 2002.

HOMEMADE CHILI SOUP

2 pounds bulk sausage

1 cup chopped onion

2 quarts tomato juice

1 1/2 quarts water

1 quart cooked kidney beans

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon chili powder

salt to taste

1/8 teaspoon red pepper (optional)

4 rounded tablespoons cornstarch, enough to thicken to satisfaction

In a stainless steel skillet, saut onion and sausage until brown. Drain grease. Put sausage and onion in a 6 quart stainless steel kettle, warm tomato juice, sugar, chili powder, salt, and all the water except two cups to the boiling point. Use the two cups of water to dissolve cornstarch. Add cornstarch and stir until thickened. Add beans to the chili soup. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Some who like a spicier soup add more chili powder.

Yield 15 servings

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The Discussion


  1. I love Skyline Chili. I grew up in PA with a chili similar to Elizabeth’s, but when I went to college in Cincinnati, I started eating the Skyline, and now that I live near Indianapolis, I can eat it here, too.

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    • Karen, welcome to amishcookonline! Do they have Skylines in Indy, or do you just scoot down I-74 towards Cincy for your chili fix?

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  2. A three way for me please!

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    • LOL…yea, Mandy, that sounds great to outsiders, they think you and I are talking inappropriately on a family site! Am I wrong, or do they have a Skyline in Bellefontaine?

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  3. Love Skyline….I’ll have a 5-way, please! :~)>

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  4. I saw Skyline Chili in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. Must be a lot of retirees from the Cincy area.

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  5. MWeisgerber says:


    I like Skyline, but I’ve never cared for the 3-, 4-, or 5-ways, or even the cheese coneys. I guess I don’t care for the chili, and I’ve never been a hot dog fan! Sacrilegious for a native Cincinnatian, I know! Whenever I have a craving for Skyline, I get the deluxe burrito, which has a small amount of chili covering the burrito, bean mix inside the tortilla, and a salad and cheese on top of it all. Gold Star is awful; the chili tastes like dirt.

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  6. Dianne Shannon says:


    I love Skyline, but I prefer homemade chili, like the recipe above. I love chucks of meat in mine, instead of all ground up. My husband makes awesome chili.
    Dianne

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  7. My favorite is Empress chili, will take Skyline next, but leave the Gold Star at home. A 4-way with beans for sure, with 2 or 3 cheese conies no onions, sloppy, every time and I’m in heaven. I will try the receipt with spagetti for sure……

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  8. Diane Adelstone says:


    This recipe sounds really great, but I would like to modify it and use lean ground beef or chicken to cut down on the cholesterol. It am sure it will still taste good that way. (By the way, what is the average life span of the Amish men and women. It seems they eat too much animal fat.)

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  9. Betty Hoffman says:


    We have a Skyline here in Dunedin, Florida–Yum!!

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    • Really? Wow…how long has it been there? Are there a lot of Cincy transplants in the area?

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  10. I never heard of the chili places you are mentioning but the 5 way chili here in Illinois is found at the Steak & Shake. Good stuff. It is a chain that was started in Central Illinois years ago. It sounds like the menu is very much like what you’ve mentioned at the other place. Kevin, I really like having your site as a favorite. A number of years ago I lived in Northern Michigan and came across the Amish Cook columns and followed them every week and now am retired back in Illinois and am delighted to have found it again. Thank you.

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    • Bonnie, glad you could reconnect with us from Central Illinois! A 5-way chili at Steak & Shake? We have a Steak & Shake in my hometown here in Ohio, never knew they served chili!

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      • Yep, they serve chili, dogs, burgers and all the regular old time fast food type stuff. When Steak & Shake first started they had the car hops and the whole deal. Great memories since my “little brother” had his first job as a car hop in Peoria Il. Hey, Keven, have you ever been to the Amish area around Arthur, IL?

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  11. I wish we had a Skyline here in our town. I get cravings on a regular basis! We can get the sauce in cans at the store, but it’s not as good. I’ve been experimenting with different recipes so I can make a good homemade version. We have family in Ohio, so I have to get my fix when I’m there.

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  12. Linda from KY says:


    I saw Skyline Chili and Empress Chili mentioned, but what about Dixie Chili? We’ve got the best in Northern KY!

    BTW, my cousin moved to Ft. Myer, FL. She was sad not to find a Gold Star chili. She said that the Skyline Chili down there will do in a pinch. ;)

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  13. Constance Ross says:


    Since I’m not too fond of kidney beans, I like chili 4ways. I use macaroni, onions, cheese.
    There’s a Skyline franchise is Ontario OH..

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  14. Looks like a good recipe except for the 2 qts of tomato juice and 1 1/2 qts of water. Seems like a lot of liquid. Will try the recipe and write back.

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    • Jay, thanks, let us know how it works for you! (it is a more liquidy chili than some people might be used to..that’s why she calls it a “chili soup)

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  15. I don’t know about Skyline or any of this other stuff you’re talking about, but chili doesn’t really need a recipe, does it? Don’t you just start tossing things in? After I start with onion & garlic, most anything goes! Sometimes it doesn’t get any meat in it, sometimes it does. Our Amish neighbors brought us some smoked sausage a couple weeks ago, and it was just wonderful in that pot of chili! As for their longevity…our ancestors ate a lot of animal fat too, and some of them lived to a ripe old age. Some didn’t. And health nuts are dropping dead every day. When your time comes, you’re going.

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