Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chili and Cornbread

I'm back! It's been too long. Let's start with something easy. How about some chili? Throw some beef and peppers in the pot with spices, and you've got a meal. This time, I added a few nontraditional ingredients as pictured. If I didn't say, you probably wouldn't know I was planning to make chili.

Beefy Chili
Makes four servings

1 lb ground beef
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove
1 inch ginger, julienne
1 green onion, chopped
1 can diced tomato
1 tbsp chili
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red cayenne pepper

Brown beef on medium high. Drain well and add it to a crock pot. Heat olive oil on medium high. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the pan. Stir vegetables for three minutes to bring out the flavor, then add to the crock pot. Add ginger, green onion, and the diced tomato with the juice to the pot. Then add the spices and stir. Heat on high for two hours or all day on low. An hour before serving, take the lid off to thicken.

Apparently, according to Top Chef, there's no beans in (Texan) chili. But, Bill thinks it needs some beans. This is a meaty meal. Cornbread balances it out. The Jalapeños give the cornbread a kick. This recipe is loosely based on the regular cornbread recipe in The Kitchen Bible.

Jalapeño Cornbread 
Makes 9 squares

1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup polenta
1/2 cup white cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 Jalapeño pepper, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking pan (mine was 8x8). Mix flour, polenta, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the egg, sour cream, milk, and butter in another bowl. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir. Pour into a baking pan and top with Jalapeño slices. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick (or chopstick) comes out clean from the center. It's soft but not crumbly. I love the crispy sides. Watch out for the Jalapeños--they're hot! Serve with the chili. 

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