Though the calendar has tipped over into December and Christmas is bearing down on us fast and hard, it’s still technically fall, and that means that chili remains an ideal choice for a seasonal meal. This easy dinner idea combines a hearty beef and bean chili with a hearty cornbread all in the same pan.
The secret ingredient to this lovely dish? Juuust a tiny pinch of cinnamon. No, really! It adds a very subtle flavor nuance to the chili that’s just delightful. I became aware of using cinnamon in savory dishes when I started trying more Greek-style meals, and now I’m hooked. It’s such a versatile spice.
The chili starts on your stovetop in a cast iron skillet, and then it gets covered with a homemade cornbread batter and baked in the oven. I’m telling you, the smell that will be permeating your kitchen when the bubbling chili starts to meld with the smell of cornmeal and buttermilk will have your whole family sitting at the table eager to dig in before you get a chance to take it out of the oven.
This is a dinner that looks like you spent a lot more time on it than you did. It will fill up all the hungry bellies in your house while you try to get a handle on your holiday kitchen tasks – enjoy!
|Beef and Bean Skillet Chili Topped With Cornbread|| |
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 TBS chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- Small pinch of ground cinnamon
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 10 oz. cans of Fire-Roasted Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles), drained
- 1 14.5 oz. can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 TBS sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten.
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- 2 TBS butter, melted
- In a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, season the ground beef with salt and pepper and brown, breaking into small crumbles with a spatula as it cooks. Remove the beef to a plate and set aside, reserving a couple of teaspoons of the grease in the pan.
- Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until translucent and fragrant, then add the minced garlic and cook for a couple minutes more.
- Return the beef to the skillet and add chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, chicken broth, Rotel, and beans. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until the liquid reduces a bit and starts to thicken (this could take as long as 20-30 minutes)
- While the chili is simmering, preheat your oven to 400F. In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the beaten egg and then stream in the buttermilk while mixing, stopping when the mixture is just combined.
- Once the oven is preheated and the chili has thickened, taste the chili and adjust seasonings to your preference. Pour the cornbread batter over to the top of the chili and bake on the middle rack for 15-17 minutes or until the cornbread is golden, set, and springs back when touched.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and brush the top with the melted butter.
- Serve hot with sour cream and cheddar cheese, if desired.
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