‘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
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.