I decided to make some cornbread as well, as cornbread is the perfect complement to chili. I have tried several different recipes for cornbread, but this particular recipe that I found on Chelley's blog is probably the best recipe I have tried to date. The only change I made (noted below) was in the oven temperature, as I did not have an 8x8" glass pan so I used a 9x9" metal pan instead.
This cornbread recipe calls for buttermilk. I've found that I can never use up a full container of buttermilk before it spoils, so cultured buttermilk is a great alternative! I purchase SACO cultured buttermilk blend from my local Walmart and store it in my refrigerator. I love it, because I can now always have buttermilk on hand for recipes, without worrying about using it all up before it spoils :)
Easy Chunky Chili
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 (15.5 oz) cans dark red kidney beans (do not drain)
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes (cut into chunks; do not drain)
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (do not drain)
1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2-1 tsp salt, to taste
1/2 tbsp black pepper (1 tbsp if you really like your chili spicy!)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp oregano
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
In a large pot, cook the ground beef over medium heat until evenly browned. Drain off grease, reserving a small amount to sauté the garlic, onions, and bell peppers.
Heat reserved grease in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, onions, and bell peppers until onions are translucent. Remove from heat. Transfer the onion mixture to the pot with the ground beef, and set the heat to medium.
Add the kidney beans and tomatoes to the beef mixture, and season with chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic salt and oregano. Bring to a simmer, and adjust seasonings to taste if necessary. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Top each serving with shredded cheddar cheese.
from Cook’s Illustrated, Fall 2007
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup buttermilk (I used SACO cultured buttermilk blend instead)
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees (I heated my oven to 375°F since I was using a dark metal pan). Spray 8-inch square baking dish (glass is recommended) with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl until combined; set aside.
In food processor or blender, process sugar, thawed corn kernels, and buttermilk until combined, about 5 seconds. Add eggs and process until well combined (corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.
Using rubber spatula, make well in center of dry ingredients; pour wet ingredients into well. Begin folding dry ingredients into wet, giving mixture only a few turns to barely combine; add melted butter and continue folding until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish; smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.