Monday, January 17, 2011

Comfort Food

It may sound a bit "manly" but I love a good chili. Of course, chili is even better when served with some homemade cornbread. Every time I make chili, I like to do something a little different since there are so many versions out there. What's your favorite chili recipe?

Crock Pot Beef Chili
Servings: about 8 cups

Cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1.5 lbs local grass-fed grd. sirloin
1/4 cup red chili powder
3/4 Tbsp oregano
3/4 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2  yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
3 oz. tomato paste
1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 15 oz. cans of red kidney beans


Spray bottom of crock pot. 
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp olive oil,; saute onions and garlic until tender.  Mix in 1/8 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper.  Place in crock pot.

In the same skillet, heat remaining olive oil; cook beef until browned (break up the meat as it cooks.) Stir in remaining salt and pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, and chili powder. Transfer meat to crock pot. Add chopped peppers and tomatoes. Stir in vinegar and tomato paste.

Cover and cook on Low setting for 6 hours. One hour before serving, turn setting to High and add beans.


Cornbread is traditionally made using a cast iron skillet. Because I don't have one, I use an 8 x 8 inch pan in the oven. I've played around with a recipe that I found in a cookbook but never came out right to my liking. With a few tweaks to the ingredients and measurements, I think I've finally found my formula.

1 and 1/4 cups yellow or white stone-ground cornmeal (I like Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp sugar (if you like your cornbread on the sweeter side, use more)
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp melted better
1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease pan with butter. Place pan in oven to heat. Mix the first five ingredients at room temperature with a few strokes. Then, whisk in the last three ingredients.  Pour batter into hot pan. Bake for 17 minutes or until nicely browned.


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