Recipe: Chili Cornbread Casserole

Recipe: Chili Cornbread Casserole

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Christine Gallary
Feb 19, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When it's chilly outside and all you want to do is hunker down with a steaming bowl of chili and some warm cornbread, turn to this trusty one-pot casserole. The best part of making chili and cornbread together in one dish is how the cornbread soaks up some of the sauce while still growing crispy on top. Pantry staples give this meaty beef and tomato chili a quick start. Cooking the dish in the Dutch oven means you can pour over an easy cornbread batter before popping it in the oven to bake. The Dutch oven does double duty as a baking dish that you can serve dinner right out of, plus there's one less baking dish to have to wash later.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

This mild, kid-friendly chili gets its flavor from chili powder, cumin, and paprika, but you can always add in some cayenne pepper for a spicier kick. Lean ground beef, a can of kidney beans, and some diced tomatoes round out the chili. After a quick simmer, the casserole gets topped with the cornbread batter and goes into the oven so that the chili gets some more simmering time and the cornbread bakes up with a nice crust on top. Serve with your favorite chili toppings; I'm partial to cheese and sour cream, but some scallions and hot sauce would be delicious too!

Chili Cornbread Casserole

Serves 4 to 6

  • For the chili:
  • 2 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, diced

  • 3

    medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons

    chili powder

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon

    paprika

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1

    (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1

    (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups

    water

  • For the cornbread and serving:
  • 3/4 cup

    finely ground yellow cornmeal

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup

    whole or 2% milk

  • 1

    large egg

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, melted

  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, thinly sliced scallions, sour cream, or Greek yogurt

Make the chili:

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes.

Add the ground beef and salt and stir, breaking the meat into small pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt. Stir until the meat is well-coated with spices and the spices are deep brown in color and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the beans, tomatoes with their juices, and water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. When the chili is ready, remove from the heat. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Make the cornbread:

Place the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Place the milk and egg in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until just incorporated. (Do not overmix.) Stir in the melted butter until just incorporated and no streaks of butter remain; you will have a thin batter. Slowly pour the cornbread mixture evenly over the chili.

Bake until the cornbread layer is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove the pot to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving with toppings if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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