culinary review

Chili with Baked Cornmeal Topping

Last Modified: 06/09/11
First Published: 01/15/08
Views: 3596
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Views: 3596
cornmeal topped chili con carneThis is such a tasty way to serve chili - the moist and crispy corn topping compliments a spicy chili perfectly. The best chili simmers for a couple of hours in order to break down fat and connective tissue, resulting in extremely soft and tender meat that literally falls apart. We prefer to make chili with chunks of meat instead of ground beef – that way you have more control over what kind of meat you use, the chili tastes better and more often then not, it actually ends up a better deal cost wise.

This chili is very nice and flavored with homemade chili powder which gives it so much more punch and flavor. Other flavor additions include a liberal amount of garlic, dried coriander, cardamom and cocoa powder. We like to add about half the spices at first and the rest a couple of hours later in order to balance out the flavors. A little lemon juice at the end of the cooking period brightens up the dish considerably. Serve this along with fresh avocado, white onion, fresh tomatoes and sour cream for a perfect, complete meal.
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General Info
Servings: 5
Total Cost: $13.86
Cost Per Serving: $2.77
Total Calories: 5,624
Calories/Serving: 1,125
Vegetable Oil 3 Tablespoons 42.00 Grams $0.09 360
Beef Chuck Blade Roast (in chunks) * 1.50 Pounds $7.55 2,344
Onion, Yellow Diced 2 Cups 320.00 Grams $0.71 134
Garlic (8 cloves) 8 Teaspoons 22.67 Grams $0.10 34
Tomato Paste 3 Tablespoons 49.50 Grams $0.19 38
Vermouth, Sweet, Generic 750 ml Bottle 2 Tablespoons 50.00 Grams $0.44 55
Tomatoes, Diced, Generic Can (2 cans) * 28.00 Ounces $1.47 158
Water 1 Cup 227.00 Grams $0.00 0
Black Beans (cooked) 1 1/2 Cup 258.00 Grams $0.28 341
Coriander Seed, Ground 1 Teaspoon 1.67 Grams $0.42 5
Chili Power, Homemade 6 Teaspoons 12.40 Grams $0.38 59
Cardamom, Ground (1 pod) 1/4 Teaspoon 0.49 Gram $0.04 1
Salt, Table 2 Teaspoons 12.00 Grams $0.02 0
Cocoa Powder, Dutch Processed, Unsweetened 3 Teaspoons 5.40 Grams $0.10 12
Sugar, White Granulated 2 Teaspoons 8.33 Grams $0.01 32
Worcestershire Sauce 2 Teaspoons 10.00 Grams $0.07 10
Lemon, Whole (juice from 1/2 lemon) * 50.00 Grams $0.19 10
Corn Meal, Yellow 1 1/2 Cup 240.00 Grams $0.27 880
Flour, White Unbleached All Purpose 1/2 Cup 2.13 Ounces $0.07 228
Baking Powder, Clabber Girl 3 Teaspoons 14.40 Grams $0.10 0
Salt, Table 1 Teaspoon 6.00 Grams $0.01 0
Buttermilk 1 Cup 240.00 Grams $0.40 120
Eggs, Chicken (2 eggs) * 100.00 Grams $0.33 156
Vegetable Oil 4 Tablespoons 56.00 Grams $0.13 480
Mozzarella, Whole Milk Cheese (shredded) 1/2 Cup 56.00 Grams $0.50 168

When you feel like having chili, but want to make it something special, then why not make a chili baked with cornmeal topping. It is a very tasty and comforting way to serve chili – the golden cornmeal topping bakes on top of the chili in a Dutch oven and provides a perfect meal in one pot.

Chili:meat and onions

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 pounds beef chunks
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sweet vermouth
2 14-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 ½ cups cooked black beans


1 teaspoon dried coriander
6 teaspoons homemade chili powder
1 cardamom pod, bruised
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sugartomato chili
2 teaspoons Worcester sauce
Juice from ½ lemon

Cornbread topping

1.5 cup cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or cheddar cheese)


Start making the chili by heating up the oil in a large cast-iron pot (dutch oven). Sauté the meat in two batches in order to brownchili with meat and beans them properly. Once the meat is browned, remove from the pan and add the onions. Sautee the onions until soft in the same pan, then add the meat. Crush 6 of the garlic cloves and add them along with the tomato paste. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then de-glaze the pan with the dry vermouth, and make sure to scrape off any brown bits.

Add about half the amount of the spices (1/2 teaspoons coriander, 3 teaspoons chili powder, 1 cardamom pod, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder). Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes and the water. Let cook for a couple of hours on low heat – preferably 3-5 hours.

After a couple of hours, taste the chili, and add the cooked beans, press the remaining two garlic cloves and add the remaining spices plus the sugar, the Worcester sauce and the lemon juice. Add more spices according to taste and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour.

When the chili is done, make the cornmeal topping. In a bowl, mix together the cornmeal, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, the eggs and the oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, try not to over work the dough. Pourcornmeal bread topping the topping on top of the chili and bake in a 425 F degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. When it’s done, sprinkle the top with cheese and bake under the broiled for another minute or two. Serve with white onion, sour cream and fresh avocado.