Dinner Tonight: Tuxedo Chili + Buttermilk Bacon Grease Cornbread

January 21, 2014

Chances are, on the nights that you crave chili, you also crave cornbread. And if you crave cornbread, you probably want the best, no-nonsense cornbread, the kind crisped up in a cast iron skillet, and with bacon grease as the fat component. (If you haven't tried this yet, now is the perfect time to give it a shot.) Chili is usually a several-hour committment -- but this recipe cuts some corners (without sacrificing taste) and comes together with pantry items you probably already have.

Click through on the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes, but we've also written you a handy grocery list and game plan below. 

Tuxedo Chili by TheRunawaySpoon

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Buttermilk Bacon Grease Cornbread by Beth Kirby | {Local Milk}


The Grocery List 

2 pounds ground chicken
Three 15-ounce cans great Northern or canellini beans
2 cups chicken broth
One 16-ounce can black beans 
One 16-ounce package frozen white shoepeg corn
One 4 1/2-ounce can chopped green chiles 
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons bacon grease, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 cup buttermilk 

We're assuming you have 1 white onion, 2 cloves garlic, some vegetable oil, dried oregano, chili powder, black pepper, cinnamon, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and 2 eggs. If not, add those to the shopping list, too. 

The Plan 

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. 

2. Grease a cast iron skillet with bacon grease and place in the oven while it heats. 

3. For the cornbread: Mix the cornmeal, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in 3 tablespoons bacon grease with your fingers or two knives, mixing well until you have a sandy texture. 

4. Combine the eggs and buttermilk, add to the dry ingredients, and mix to combine well.

5. Pour the mixture into the hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes.

6. While the cornbread is baking, chop the onion and garlic finely. Add to the oil in a large Dutch oven. Sauté over medium high heat until soft and translucent. Do not brown. Remove the onions and garlic to a bowl and set aside. Add the ground chicken to the pan and cook until browning slightly, breaking it up into small pieces.

7. Mix the oregano, cumin, chili powder, pepper, and cinnamon in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the chicken. Add the onions and garlic. Pour in three cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until the water has reduced by half and the chicken is cooked through.

8. Meanwhile, drain and rinse two cans of white beans. Place the beans in a blender with the chicken broth and purée until smooth. Drain and rinse the remaining white beans and the black beans. Pour the puréed beans into the chicken mixture, stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining drained beans, corn, and green chiles and simmer until cooked through and thickened, about 30 minutes.

9. Serve in big bowls topped with grated cheese, sour cream and chopped cilantro. Invert cornbread onto a plate and serve crispy side up. 

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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    Joy Belamarich
Writer, Fooder, Blogger. New Yorker turned Cape Coder.


Joan E. April 9, 2017
All I can find in this recipe is the 3 TB flour! I decided to try it exactly as written today because it looked SO GOOD! But when I mixed the wet into the dry ingredients, it was way too flimsy of a batter I thought. I added about 3/4 cup of flour and it looked correct based on many other cornbreads I have made. Hope it's good...
selena January 7, 2015
how much of each spice/herb? I don't see amounts
tracey181 January 27, 2014
Can I substitute something for the bacon grease?
Joy B. January 27, 2014
Absolutely. Bacon grease is delicious, but so is butter, or any kind of fat or lard that you prefer :)