In our new column "Pregame Platter," senior contributing writer Mike Unger selects the best food and drink options coinciding with that week’s opponent.
Bengals at Ravens, Sunday Sept. 7, 1 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium, CBS
After a month of seemingly interminable preseason games (preseason football is like going on a date with a person you know you’ll never get lucky with—you can bring your A-game, but in the end, what’s the point?) the Ravens get to do it for real Sunday against the NFL’s most hideously outfitted franchise.
What to Eat: Cincinnati is known, of course, for its cinnamon-based chili. I got this recipe from my friend Pinkerton, a longtime Fells Pointer originally from the Cincinnati area. It’s the real deal.
- 1 quart water
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3-4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tsp unsweetened coco powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves,
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 4 garlic cloves crushed (or 1 tbsp chopped garlic from jar)
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Directions: Add ground beef to water in large pot. Stir until beef separated into a fine texture. Boil slowly for 30 minutes. Add other ingredients and stir to blend. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about three hours until desired consistency is reached.
If making anything beyond toast exceeds your mental and physical capabilities on a Sunday (believe me, I understand), pick up a steak chili pie from Dangerously Delicious in Canton. It’s filled with steak, onions, tomatoes, kidney beans and “all the right spices,” and it’s well, dangerously delicious. Call 410-522-PIES to order one 24 hours in advance.
What to Drink: The Queen City has a number of microbrews that I’ll discuss when the Ravens travel to Cincy at the end of October, but unfortunately, none of them are available here. (My rule of thumb on tracking down beer is to call Total Wine in Laurel or The Wine Source in Hampden. If they don’t carry it, I quit looking.) Porters and stouts pair well with chili, so I’ll be going with our own Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout, which, at eight percent, packs a punch.