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Author Notes: A smoky, spicy chili where the meat isn’t missed! Throw everything into a skillet or braiser, top with drops of cornbread and bake! It’s a healthier way to eat a favorite winter warmer that will feed the whole family.
Growning up in a Texas home we were raised on chili during the colder months of the year. There was nothing like coming home after school or any number of practices to see that there was a piping-hot homemade pot of chili sitting on the stove with some fresh cornbread muffins waiting to be devoured. We had the extras on the side so we could make our own bowls, especially since we had some picky eaters in the family (*cough* my sister *cough*).
Although it's best served fresh out of the oven I've been munching on leftover bowls of the stuff at work all week or while studying for my microeconomics class. (Trust me, that class could use some spicing up!). Plus, my husband actually liked it! He, like some aformentioned siblings, is a picky eater with a very limited palette of acceptable ingredients (most of which consist of any combination of chocolate and peanut butter). So all in all I definitely feel like a winner this week!
Over the years being away from home and family there is something so comforting and grounding about eating chili now that just makes me feel safe and flood my mind with memories. I generally ditch the meat these days and opt for a ultra-fulfilling vegetarian version full of Texan and Mexican influences: cue mole paste and chipotle chiles in adobo. These ingredients add wonderful depth of flavor and warmth to the dish along with some fantastic smokiness and just the right amount of spicy heat.
The mole paste and chipotles in adobo you should be able to find in the Hispanic aisle of any grocery store, if not Mexican grocers will always carry them. There's a variety of mole pastes, both mole poblano or mole negro paste will worth great here! —Lauren Diomampo
- 4 tablespoons Neutral oil, such as canola
- 1/2 Red onion, diced
- 1 Green bell pepper, diced
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon Mole paste
- 1 Chipotle in adobo, chopped plus 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- 2 teaspoons Dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Coriander, ground
- 1 Can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 Can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 Cans stewed tomatoes
- Salt, to taste (optional)
Whole-Wheat Chive Cornbread
- 1 1/4 cups Stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup White whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons Baking powder
- 2 tablespoons Chives, chopped
- 1/4 cup Unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 Large egg, beaten
- 1 cup Milk
- Mix cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and chives in a large mixing bowl.
- Cut in your cold butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter.
- Add egg and milk then mix just until combined. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Heat up a large cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet or braiser over medium heat. Add oil, onion and bell pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions just begin to become translucent.
- Add in the garlic, molé paste, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and all spices. Fry an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Pour in the tomatoes and their juices, as well as the black beans and red kidney beans. Stir everything together, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Break up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon while they cook down.
- With a large spoon drop 6-7 mounds of the cornbread dough over the top of the chili. Place entire skillet into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately. Customize as desired with cilantro, more chives, sour cream or my personal favorite, avocado!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Hands-Off Recipe