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‘Almost’ Texas Chili
with cornbread muffins

Active: 45 minTotal: 1 hr

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.



‘Almost’ Texas Chili (for two nights):
  • 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)
Jalapeno-Honey Cornbread Muffins:
  • 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

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)


  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Spoon cornbread batter into prepared muffin tin (or skillet). Bake until just set in the center, 15 to 17 minutes.
  7. Just before serving, chop green onions.
  8. 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.
  9. Serve chili with green onions and sour cream on top. Enjoy with cornbread on the side.

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This meal has 75 reviews

This was a hit. I did end up adding some cornstarch to thicken the sauce. I also used regular cornmeal rather than finely ground, but I can see how it helps with the texture of the liquid portion - it’s too thin without it.

By: Teresa
Posted: Jan 26, 2018
Diet: Original

The spice mix worked well. I did the prep earlier in the week, and my husband cooked the dish tonight with no problems. We’ll probably add some beans next time, though.

By: Sara
Posted: Jan 25, 2018
Diet: Original

I think this would have been better with ground beef rather than stew beef, or made in a slow cooker so the beef had more time to tenderize. I liked the flavor of the chili, although I added kidney beans since other reviewers said it was a bit thin.

By: Chelsea
Posted: Jan 25, 2018
Diet: Original

Agree with others it is too liquidy. Flavors were good. Will try again with 1/2 the liquid. I cannot imagine turning this chili into nachos later this week. Too soggy.

By: Diana
Posted: Jan 24, 2018
Diet: Original

Reduced stock by half and combined sautéed ingredients in instant pot on chili function. Added cayenne and chili pepper for a good kick. More of a stew.

By: Sundi
Posted: Jan 24, 2018
Diet: Paleo

I am NOT a fan of bean-less chili. The flavor was great, but it was too liquidy. I ended up serving this with rice (because I didn't have any quick, canned beans at hand to throw in).

By: Doug
Posted: Jan 23, 2018
Diet: Original