Chipotle Chili & My Favorite Cornbread

This Mexican-influenced chipotle chili is full of delicious unpredictable ingredients. 
November makes for the ultimate chili weather, so here's an awesome recipe with lots of yummy Mexican influences, like smokey chipotle chiles, a sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa and a pinch of cinnamon. These touches add interesting layers of flavor to this homemade favorite, while masa harina, the corn flour used to make tortillas, acts as a thickening agent and adds a delicious, savory texture. The combination of coarsely ground pork and beef with pinto and kidney beans makes this one heck of a warming, hearty dish.

People seem to be die-hard serious about chili accompaniments. Some prefer noodles, oyster crackers, or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Me? I insist that there be cornbread. Since my friend, Ursa, gave me this Martha Stewart recipe for custard-filled cornbread, I can't bear to make cornbread any other way. It's insanely delicious, probably due to the ungodly amount of full-fat dairy products. But, man. It's so, so worth it! Just one bite makes me want to tap dance.

Chipotle Chili
 Makes 6-8 servings

1 lb coarsely ground beef
1 lb coarsely ground pork
2 tbsp oil or bacon fat
2 medium onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 chipotle peppers from a can of adobo, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1/4 cup masa harina or cornmeal
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
salt and fresh ground pepper
For serving:
Sliced green onions, Mexican crema or sour cream, shredded cheese

  1. Heat bacon fat or oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, and jalapeno. Cook vegetables until tender - about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, and cumin and cook for another minute or two until garlic softens. 
  2. Add meat and turn heat up to medium-high. While the meat cooks, break it up with a spatula. Cook until browned - about 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the canned tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, oregano, and chipotle peppers. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes. 
  4. Sprinkle in masa harina and cocoa powder. Add beans. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Stirring every now and then. 
  5. To serve, ladle chili into bowls and top with Mexican crema, shredded cheese and sliced green onions. 
custard-filled cornbread
Custard-Filled Cornbread
Custard-Filled Cornbread
Serves 12-16

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 cup heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9-by-2" round baking pan (or cast iron skillet), and place in the oven to preheat. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside. 
  2. Whisk eggs and butter in large bowl. Whisk in sugar, salt, milk and vinegar. Add flour mixture, and whisk until just smooth. Stir in corn kernels. 
  3. Transfer batter to heated pan. Pour cream onto center of batter; do not stir. Bake until pale golden brown and set, about 50 minutes. let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm. 

1 comment:

  1. Yum, both of those recipes sound really good!

    The proper way to eat chili is a hotly debated topic in my house. My husband is more of a traditionalist, but I have to have noodles and a peanut butter sandwich to dunk in the chili. I think the PB might be a Louisville thing, because everyone here thinks it's insane. I learned it from my dad, who picked up the habit from eating chili with PB sandwiches in the school cafeteria!


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