Wednesday, December 30, 2009
There are few things better during the cold months than sitting down to a steaming bowl of soup, stew or chowder. One of my favorite hearty soups to make is the American classic, chili. Rich and tomatoey with lots of dark kidney beans and hot pepper, this soup rocks my world. An almost necessary companion is, of course, cornbread. The two go together like Harold and Maude... or Burt and Ernie, even. My love for this combo is so great, that I decided to meld them together into one dish. One dish to rule them all (sorry, I'm full of lame references today).
Have a taste for yourself.
For the chili:
1 T. cooking oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 T. chili powder
1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne (or more or less, depending on your heat tolerance)
2 C. diced tomatoes (either from a can or fresh)
1 small can tomato paste
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans (or whatever kind you like)
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced (again, whatever kind suit you)
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium and add the onion. Stir and cook for 2 minutes until it begins to turn translucent. Add the chili powder, cayenne and about 1/2 tsp. of salt to the onions, and cook for another minute, stirring to coat the onions.
Pour the tomatoes into the pot and stir well. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Simmer the soup for several minutes, and then add the beans, mushrooms and garlic. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and more cayenne if you prefer more spice.
Turn the heat to low and proceed to the cornbread recipe.
For the cornbread:
1 C. flour
1 C. cornmeal
1/4 C. agave nectar
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 C. soy or rice milk
1/4 C. olive oil
2 T. flax seed meal
6 T. water
Bring the water to a boil in a very small saucepan, and add the flax meal. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is really gooey. Take off of the heat.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl until well combined. To this, add the agave, oil, milk and flax mixture, and stir until just combined. Don't over-mix.
To assemble the casserole:
Pour your piping-hot chili into a 9x13" baking dish, and stir it up a bit to get a decent tomato-to-bean/veggie ratio. Then, spoon the cornbread batter over the chili, being sure to cover the entire surface. You don't need to spread the batter. It'll stretch out and fill in the cracks between spoonfuls once it's in the oven.
Now place the baking dish on the center rack of your oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean. Serve by scooping out of the pan with a large spoon or spatula.
This is a great dish to make if you're in the market for leftovers. Hope you enjoy!