‘Almost’ Texas Chili
with cornbread muffins
Texas chili differentiates itself with a unique mix of spices (including a tiny bit of cinnamon for depth) and uses only meat - no beans.
Smarts: We call this 'Almost' Texas Chili because the base is usually made entirely with dried peppers (no tomatoes), but we've taken some liberties to make our version workable for all spice preferences. Feel free to kick up the spice with some hot sauce or red pepper flakes.
Smarts: This recipe makes 8 cornbread muffins (for 4 servings). Any extras freeze well.
- Onions, medium - 1, chopped
- Bell peppers, green - 1, chopped
- Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped
- Cornmeal, finely ground - 3 Tbsp
- Chili powder - 1 Tbsp
- Cumin - 2 tsp
- Brown sugar - 2 tsp
- Oregano - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
- Beef stew meat, cubed - 2 lbs (sub beef sirloin or chuck)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Stock, low-sodium beef - 3 cups
- Beer - 1 cup (lager or other light-flavored beer; sub stock)
- Tomatoes, crushed (15 oz / 397 g) - 1 can
- Green onions - 2 stalks, chopped, green and white parts combined
- Vinegar, apple cider - 1 Tbsp
- Hot sauce (opt) - to taste
- Sour cream - for serving (sub plain or Greek yogurt)
- Jalapenos - 1, diced
- Cornmeal, yellow - 1 cup
- Flour, all-purpose - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1 Tbsp
- Baking powder - 2 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Eggs - 1
- Oil, cooking - 1/4 cup
- Honey - 2 Tbsp
- Milk - 1 cup
- Jalapenos / Onions / Bell peppers / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store jalapenos in one container. Combine onions, bell peppers and garlic in another container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make chili spice mix - Combine cornmeal (portion for the chili), chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, oregano, salt, black pepper and cinnamon. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Beef - If beef is not pre-sliced into cubes, slice into 1” / 2.5cm cubes. Season with some salt and pepper and tenderize with a fork. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Heat oven to 350F / 177C. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or brush with some oil (alternatively, you can plan to bake your cornbread in an oven-safe skillet brushed with some oil).
- While oven heats, place a Dutch oven with oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and saute until golden brown on the outside (don’t worry if it isn’t cooked all the way through), ~5 minutes. Set aside and return pan with pan drippings to heat.
- To pan drippings, add onions, bell peppers and garlic and saute until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add spice mix and saute until fragrant, ~1 minute more.
- Add stock, beer and tomatoes to pan and bring to a simmer. Add beef back to pan. Place lid on the chili and simmer until beef is tender, ~45 minutes.
- While chili simmers, make cornbread. In one bowl, whisk together cornmeal (portion for cornbread), flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs and add oil, honey and milk. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in jalapenos (if using).
- Spoon cornbread batter into prepared muffin tin (or skillet). Bake until just set in the center, 15 to 17 minutes.
- Just before serving, chop green onions.
- Stir vinegar into chili. Season with some salt and pepper (and some hot sauce if you’d like). Set half aside for Thursday’s meal.
- Serve chili with green onions and sour cream on top. Enjoy with cornbread on the side.
This was kind of meh. It ended up very, very soupy. I debated adding some beans and wish I would have. The cinnamon also added a weird flavor as well. Probably won't try this one again0 Helpful
Cornbread was good but bland. Should either go sweeter or more spicy. The stew meat will NOT soften in this cook time, unless you're using an instant pot. It took an hour and a half of simmering to reduce the liquid to a normal amount, and make this meat edible. The stew meat was $14 for two pounds... Ground beef would have been cheaper, better textured, and soaked up the flavor better. In the end, it tasted good after bring cooked properly. But I really hope this recipe gets rewritten to reflect the correct cook time, OR with ground meat instead of stew meat.0 Helpful
I was hesitant on this one, but it turned out amazing! A bit meaty, making a hefty chili to eat, but filling and perfect on a chili winter night.0 Helpful
Good flavor, but for me chunks of beef in sauce is just not chili.0 Helpful
I enjoyed this but it needed way more heat for my palate. Also added worcestershire for a little depth. Made it in the Instant Pot and shredded the beef.0 Helpful
We added chili beans (I know it's not Texas, but we're in a part of the country that needs beans). Also took out the cinnamon and put in a beef seasoning that had some nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar.0 Helpful