Chili con cornbread

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There’s something about chili that just screams comfort food.

And versatility, too. You can eat it a zillion different ways: on baked potatoes, French fries, tater tots, hamburgers, hot dogs, crushed Fritos corn chips, or just straight up.

There are also a zillion different ways to top it: cheddar cheese, crema fresca, sour cream, white onions, green onions, chives, chopped cilantro, and on and on.

And let’s not even get started about the many, many different ways to prepare it.

This is my favorite, and a favorite with my family as well. I like it just on the verge of being too spicy. It’s a delicate balance, and one’s tolerance for scoville units is definitely open to personal interpretation. This chili is pretty middle of the road – a great recipe for kids. I love chili spooned over a big wedge of slightly sweet, homemade cornbread. I love the balance of spicy versus sweet. And then, of course, I have to top it off with some sour cream and green onions. Heavenly.

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Being that I live in Texas, it would be an absolute sin to make my chili with Wallyworld ground beef. I’m fortunate enough to live near a great butcher shop, Local Yocal, which is owned by the Farmers that raise the grass-fed beef they sell. They also provide an outlet for other quality artisans; check it out here. They also sell delicious local eggs, too. I used these in my cornbread.

I stopped in the market and had a great time perusing the assortment. The woman that helped me pick what to purchase was an absolute gem. I just wish I had gotten her name so I could give her the proper acknowledgement. Ultimately, she recommended using half grass fed beef and half Wagyu beef in my chili. Boy, I’m glad I listened. That was some pure beef magic, right there.

“Is there really a difference between grocery store beef and locally sourced?” YES! Their grass-fed beef was very clean, a crisp, focused, beef taste without any background noise as I call it. Y(ou know, that faint plastic wrapped taste that grocery store beef has after sitting in the case for so long?) The Wagyu beef was also delicious; a very rich, almost buttery taste. Incredible. Indulgent.

I used the Chipotle infused special edition olive oil from Texas Olive Ranch to sauté my beef and onions. The specialty line is available at Farmer’s Markets in Texas, but a suitable substitute would be Rattlesnake from Texas Olive Ranch, which can be purchased at larger grocery chains in Texas as well as at Local Yocal.

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Even my terrier wanted a bowl of chili. Check out the photo-bomb below. You know she was just waiting for me to drop that bowl. Now, let’s get down to it, shall we?

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CHILI CON CORNBREAD

Makes 6 – 8 servings

CHILI

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef.

1 large onion, diced

2 T. olive oil

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. garlic, minced

1 1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup water

8 oz. tomato sauce

15 oz. can diced tomatoes

15 oz. can pinto beans, undrained

15. oz. can kidney beans, undrained

15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 T. chili powder

1 t. ground chipotle

1 t. ground ancho chili powder

1 t. smoked paprika

1 t. ground cumin

1 t. oregano

1/3 cup fresh parley, minced

Directions:

1. In dutch oven, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium high. Add onions and cook until softened. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

2. Add ground beef, salt, and garlic powder. Cook until beef is browned.

3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.

4. Once boiling, lower heat to low and allow to simmer one hour. Stir every fifteen minutes or so.

That’s it! Easy peasy. This chili makes a lot and it freezes wonderfully.

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CORN BREAD

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted in a large glass bowl

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup corn kernels (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and generously butter a 9×9 baking dish or line a muffin pan with liners.

1. Melt butter in the microwave in a large Pyrex bowl. Whisk in sugar and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt.

3. Returning to the large bowl with the melted butter/sugar, whisk in the eggs.

4. Quickly stir the baking soda into the buttermilk, pour into butter mixture and whisk to combine.

5. Gently whisk in dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Small bumps are a-ok.

6. Pour into baking dish and bake for 35 minutes. If you are making muffins, bake 20 – 25 minutes (my oven bakes them perfectly in 22 minutes)

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