Friday, September 9, 2011

Chili and Cornbread

With the cooling off of the weather this week, I have been craving some cooler weather classic dishes and what is more fall like than chili (especially the week that the regular season NFL starts)? By the way, the weather has cooled down to the 80's today which felt great. I love Ree Drummond's chili recipe from her Pioneer Woman Cookbook which I have owned for quite a while. She now has her own show on Food Network which I have enjoyed watching; both episodes so far have been great and I'm sure it will be a hit.

The other component to dinner was cornbread and for this recipe, I turned to Melissa D'Arabian who makes a wonderful cornbread which she calls Brunch Cornbread. She adapted a cornbread recipe for her French husband who did not grow up eating cornbread which is why I like this recipe. I also did not grow up eating cornbread. What makes this cornbread recipe unique is that it has a lot more flour than cornmeal and so has a different texture in the end. I also served it with the Maple Lime Butter which she recommends.

Simple, Perfect Chili (from Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook) Serves 6
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 lbs. ground beef
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup masa (corn flour)

Optional Ingredients
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 can Rotel tomatoes

For Service
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Onion

Begin by measuring the spices, chopped garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne, and chili powder.

Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook the beef until brown and drain off the excess fat.

Pour in the tomato sauce, followed by the spices and the salt. Stir together well, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add in 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

After an hour, place the masa in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili.

Stir together well, taste, adjust the seasonings, and add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans, jalapeno, and tomatoes if desired. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheddar and chopped onions. I enjoyed just a small dollop of sour cream in addition to the cheddar and onions.

Brunch Cornbread
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal (not coarse)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the Maple Lime Butter
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon lime zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together very well the eggs, milk, butter, applesauce, and maple syrup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir or incorporate (do not overmix). Pour into the prepared dish and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Serve with Maple Lime butter.

Maple Lime Butter: In a small bowl, mix the softened butter, maple syrup, lime zest and salt. Mix together until well incorporated. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to firm up slightly before serving.

Gerry and I agree this meals gets:

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