24 September 2007

chili and cornbread

This is a meal that Mike perfected back in his bachelor days. He made it with pork, and while I like the pork, he also developed this potato version that I love. It's a hearty meal, perfect for chilly weather because it warms up the whole house. It feeds several people at once, or the two of us for a week.

1 lb potatoes
1 15-oz. can each of black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans (or whatever beans you prefer)
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 1-oz. block of baker's chocolate
1 package Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit (Look for the package that looks like a tiny paper bag. It's sometimes on the Mexican-food/taco seasoning shelf, other times with soup mixes.)

Step 1
Quarter the potatoes so they are about bite-sized. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 375 for about 30 minutes. They want to be slightly under-cooked.

Meaty alternatives to the potatoes are slices of pork, browned, or a package of Aidells Habanero and Green Chili Sausage, sliced. (The sausage is precooked so it doesn't need to be browned before using.

While the potatoes are in the oven, open the cans of beans and put them in a colander. Rinse them and leave them in the sink to drain.

Step 2
In a large pot, combine potatoes, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1 can of water, from the 8-oz. tomato sauce can, chili mix (mix and spices only; save the masa flour and salt for later), and baker's chocolate. (The spice package will warn you that it's super hot n spicy, but it's not. This is pretty tame, heat-wise.) Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep simmering for at least 30 minutes. During this time, test-taste to see if salt is needed. Also, for thicker chili add some masa. This can simmer or be kept warm for several hours, until you're actually ready to eat.

Step 3
When you're about 30 to 45 minutes away from being ready to eat, make the cornbread. I use the Orange Cornbread recipe from Bette Hagman's The Gluten-Free Gourmet.
2 cups corn flour (cornmeal is also okay)
2 Tbs sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9 by 9 square baking pan.

In mixing bowl, combine corn flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk, eggs, oil, and orange peel until smooth. Do not overbeat.

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

If you want sangria, then you should have started 12 to 24 hours earlier, when you stuff a jar with orange slices and red wine and a pinch or two of sugar. Let it stew in the fridge all day or overnight.

You can start drinking sangria now, because all the work is finished. Be sure to serve it with a splash of something fizzy, like sparkling water.

And thanks to the sangria, I've now sort of lost track of the rest of the post. We like to put a piece of cornbread in the bottom of a bowl and put the chili over it. Then top with shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and some fresh cilantro.

This was our first chili of the season and it was spectacular. It's a little earlier than we usually make it, being only the first day of fall, and it's almost too warm outside, but we really wanted it this weekend.

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