There’s a lot to be said for creating chili from scratch and watching it slowly simmer over a warm stovetop for hours as it develops deep flavor. On the other hand, on many days there is also even more to be said to opening some handy cans of good quality tomatoes and beans, adding some other odds and ends, some savory spices, and just going for it. This is where we are with this chili. It’s a do it yourself kind of recipe, and I am leaving it entirely up to you as to how much heat you would like to add (since I am personally a wimp in that department and don’t add any myself), and how much other stuff goes into or on top of it. This chili comes together in minutes, and will fill your house with the mouth watering scents of tomatoes, onions, chili powder and cumin. While you’re heating up the chili, grab a cast iron skillet, melt some butter, and pour in an easy, made from scratch cornbread batter. Cast iron skillet cooking gives you an almost crispy outer crust and a moist and creamy interior. Serve it warm, slathered with butter and honey, and you’ll soon see what a perfect marriage it makes with the spice of the chili. Enough said, now let’s get down to business and to this thing.
If you take a close up look at this chili, you can see what I’m talking about in terms of how easy it is. This recipe includes a sautéed onion and an orange pepper, which is all the actual effort that takes place. After that, let those cans do all the work! I used a combination of pinto beans, chili beans with green chilis and sauce, and black beans (FYI, I used S&W Brand) This is because I can never leave well enough alone, and figured it would be more fun to raid the pantry and grab every bean I had and toss them in. Feel free to add only one kind if you want, or even more or different ones than I did if you’re in the mood. After the beans, I added one can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and I can of diced tomatoes with green chilis and spices. I peeked into the freezer and tossed in about 1 cup of frozen corn, added some cumin, chili powder, and salt, and let the whole thing heat through. That’s all there was to it.
When ready to serve, I think its never a bad idea to melt a bunch of cheese on top. Diced avocado would also be a treat, and maybe some diced peppers or green onion if that sounds good.
Time for a taste…..
Let’s not forget that cornbread. You can see how the top and sides are almost crispy, and the cast iron keeps the interior super moist and creamy. I added some frozen corn to the recipe for a textural change, but it’s optional. I love this with lots of melted butter and honey (of course).
Dive in and enjoy…forget about the trials and tribulations of the day, and savor this homey classic. And please remember: It’s never a bad thing to cook from your pantry – really, that’s what it’s there for. Thanks so much for reading today!! xoxoxo
Thanks so much for dropping by. Hope you can join us again next time!
- FOR THE CHILI
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large orange or red pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
- 1 can Pinto Beans
- 2 cans Chili Beans
- 1 can Black Beans
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis and Spices
- 1 can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- ½ or 1 cup frozen corn (your choice)
- Diced jalapeno or other hot peppers to taste (optional – your choice)
- Salt to taste
- Cumin to taste (I’d start with 2 teaspoons and work my way up)
- Chili powder to taste (I’d start with 2 teaspoons and work my way up)
- Optional Garnish Ideas: Grated cheddar, Monterrey Jack or other cheese of your choice, diced avocado, sliced green onion, jalapeno, or other peppers. It’s also really good with crushed Fritos on top.
- FOR THE CORNBREAD
- I cup yellow cornmeal
- I cup unbleached flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- FOR THE CHILI
- In a large Dutch oven, sauté the onion and peppers until softened.
- Add the canned pinto beans, chili beans, black beans, diced tomatoes and frozen corn. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt and whatever heat elements you like (cayenne, hot sauce, etc.) Keep tasting until you get it just the way you like it.
- Heat until bubbling and keep tasting! Flavors will change as they come together.
- Garnish and serve – that’s all there is to it.
- FOR THE CORNBREAD
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and corn kernels.
- Add buttermilk, egg, and oil. Stir just until moistened.
- Melt butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the butter begins to sizzle. Make sure the sides and bottom of the pan are coated in butter – you might need to swirl it around.
- Scrape the batter into the hot skillet, and immediately put the skillet into the oven.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden in color and set in the middle.
- Cut into wedges and serve with butter, butter and honey, just honey, or whatever else sounds good.
- NOTE: If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use an 8x8 inch baking dish – just place the baking dish in the oven to melt the butter.