Friday, February 4, 2011

Comfort in a bowl...

If I haven't mentioned...I'll mention it again...its FREEZING here.  Its not as bad as some places in the country, but gosh darn it...its cold for us (our winters are mild from the mid 30s to the 50s in temp).  So in order to keep warm I find I am cooking more...not sure if its the need to have the stove and oven going at all times or the need to eat something hot and melty.  The best of both worlds can be found in making chili and corn bread.  

In trying to figure out what to do for Sunday dinner I became convinced that something with a dumpling had to be made.   Chicken stew with biscuit dumplings on top??? No...there is no cheese in this.  Do I just make chili??? No...there is no dumpling in this...unless...wheels in head are turning, head is starting to hurt, idea forming...I could top it with a cornbread dumpling...genius had just occurred.  Then like divine intervention, an episode of Nigella Feasts  came on and she was making Chili con Carne w/ Cornbread (its like she was reading my mind).  I now had an idea of what to top my chili with...I will top it with cornbread and cheese, Nigella is a genius.  
I set about looking for the ingredients in the kitchen; I unfortunately was missing the proper amount of corn meal for her recipe in regards to I improvised.  Using a Trader Joe's cornbread mix and substituting milk for buttermilk, I prepared the mix as indicated and spread over the top of the chili I had prepared.

For printable recipe, please click here

2 lbs  Ground beef (85/15 is preferable)
2-4+ Tbs  Red Chili Powder (season to taste)
2+ tsp  Onion Powder  (season to taste)
2+ tsp  Garlic Powder (season to taste)
Salt (season to taste)
1+ tsp  Red Chili Flake  (season to taste)
3+ tsp  Cumin (season to taste)
About 1 Tbs  Flour
About 2+ cups Water 

Using a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, brown the ground beef.  Season with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin, red chili powder and red chili flake  Once the meet is browned, add the flour to the meat, stir the meat around to be sure the flour is coating it (***be careful with the flour, use to much and it will taste pasty, use to little and the chili won't be thick).  Add the water and continue to heat through adding spices as you need them.  Serve warm with desired condiments (cheese, sour cream, cornbread, fritos, etc. etc. etc.).
***NOTE:  The seasonings are not an exact science, this is only a guideline to start from.  Chili powder varies greatly in heat and in taste.  I use the hot stuff that comes in a bag that is usually down the Mexican food isle of your grocery store (here, its not an isle...its a whole store...another reason I LOVE NM).  My mother uses Eagle Brand Chili powder.  I have used McCormick chili powder in the past (its what I could get at the time); it tends to be too bitter for my taste.   You can add oregano to the chili if you like;  I don't for my own, but my mother and sister do add copious amounts of oregano to theirs.  I tend to be heavier handed with my cumin...but that's again up to what you like.  Keep tasting it til its good for you.  This recipe is just a guideline for you to create something great for yourself, cook responsibly.   

After getting the chili stirred up, topped with cornbread batter and that topped with cheese; I popped the dutch oven in the oven on 400° for 25 min.  What came out of the oven was perfect cornbread topped chili as you can see below.  It warmed up the evening perfectly.

Enjoy the foods of your labor.  :-)

Chili before cornbread

Chili with Cornbread and Cheese
Getting ready to eat...I topped this off with a dollop of sour cream

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