Thursday, January 16, 2014

Adventures in Vegetarian Cooking: Chili & Cornbread Dumplings

Chili is one of my favorite winter meals.  Like pumpkin in the fall, I start to crave it as soon as the snow starts to fall.  Honestly, it might be because of the cornbread - I really love sweet cornbread (I love anything sweet that counts as a healthy meal!).  This time I decided to try cooking the cornbread in the chili, creating a dish similar to chicken and dumplings.  My mom suggested I call it chili shepard's pie, which it is also similar to, but I'm sticking with the Chili & Dumplings.

We are in eat down the freezer mode so all of the veggies in the chili were local, either from our winter share or our freezer.  It is a long time until we'll get fresh produce again but I also know that Kevin won't let me sign up for the CSA this year if we still have a freezer full of veggies.  So for the next few months a lot of our meals will be revolving around what veggies we have unfrozen that week.  Chili is a good way to use the corn, peppers and tomatoes.

 My secret ingredients:

Kevin often accuses me of wasting good alcohol when I cook with it. I don't care, it makes food better.
The cornbread in the chili worked well (and bonus, less dishes to do!).  I will probably make it this way again.

What did the meat lover think?

Success! [****Edited to add: after a couple of days the cornbread was pretty mushy.  I probably would make this again for company or I otherwise knew we'd go through it quickly.  If I was going to make it again for just us two I would cook the cornbread separately.]

Here is the recipe:
2 T Olive Oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes*
1 jalapeno pepper, partly deseeded (more if you like it hot!)
1 c. corn
1 c. green peppers
1 can black eye peas
1 can chickpeas
2 squares dark chocolate
1/2 a beer (6 oz) (feel free to drink the rest while cooking!)
2 T paprika
2 t cumin
a dash cinnamon
cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste.

Corn bread batter (I used a mix)**

Sautee the onion in the olive oil in a dutch oven (or other oven safe dish) until soft.  Add the garlic and sautee a few minutes more.  Add the rest of the chili ingredients and stir to combine.  If you have the time, let simmer on a low heat for 30 min. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400. Mix the cornbread batter. Drop spoonfuls of batter over the chili.  Don't worry if they sink a bit, they will rise to the top during cooking.  Place into the oven uncovered and bake until cornbread is done (about 30 minutes). 

*You can use fresh peeled roma tomatoes (4 cups) as well.  I actually used 24 oz of tomato puree we got from our CSA winter share and 1 cup of roasted tomatoes I put up over the summer when we were drowning in them.

**Pumpkin bread would also work well, I may try that next time!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh this is my post :) Chili is one of my favorite foods too! And oh geez, cornbread! J made a really awesome vegan chili on Christmas day, it was sooo good. I am so upset though because it has been five million degress in LA since Christmas, as if winter totally skipped us...What I would do for snow falling and chili :)

    That looks yummy! and wow, chocolate?? I would have never thought!