I’ve been a pretty good cook for a long time, but presentation is the one part of the culinary process that doesn’t exactly come naturally. I’m so consumed by making sure my dishes taste fabulous, that the prettying up the presenting is sort of an after-thought. I know, I know, that goes against every culinary instinct that most chefs have– your food should look as stunning as it tastes, right? Maybe it’s my ADD brain– I can only focus on one thing at a time, LOL! Anyhoo, when presentation is easy, I’m all about it. Chipotle chili layered with cornbread? Oh yeah. This is a brilliant way to not only make your chili look incredible, but you get to combine bites of my delish cornbread for added texture and flavor, AND it’s easy clean up. Didn’t finish the whole jar? Put the lid on and put it in the fridge or back in your tailgating cooler…Doneski.
I’ve posted the recipe for my cornbread before– it’s sturdy (not a muffin-like or crumbly texture) so it’s easy to cut into the shape of your mason jars. I didn’t have a biscuit cutter, so I literally just took the top of each mason jar and pushed through the cornbread to cut out the exact shape of the jar.
I always come back to this chili recipe…not just because it’s won two awards, (let me just brag for a minute!) but because it’s That. Damn. Good. Recently, I sent the recipe to a girlfriend of mine who made it for a potluck party. She promptly declared– and I do quote: “Oh dear God, Parker. I’m not kidding. That’s the best chili I’ve ever tasted! And I live in Texas. I’m giddy with excitement to take it tomorrow!”
I never get tired of hearing
applause compliments for my recipes— mostly just because it makes my heart happy to share food, and for me, it’s sharing pure L.O.V.E.
The show-stopper ingredients in this chili are the hint of chocolate (1 Tb cocoa) and the chipotle peppers. Once you brown all the ingredients and combine, you can let it simmer on the stove or in a crockpot on low for about 3 hours, but don’t keep it going in the crockpot all night or it will dry it out. Just put it in the fridge and thin it out in the morning with a bit of beef stock. I know there are a LOT of ingredients, but don’t let that intimidate you. Aside from a little chopping and browning of meats, you pretty much just dump it all in there. DO it. You won’t be disappointed!
Pair Chipotle Chili & Cornbread layered in Mini Mason Jars with a Pale Lager. The depth of smoky spice that explodes in this chili/cornbread combination will be well balanced with a pale lager that cools and quenches. A lighter Lager will celebrate the powerful combination of ingredients with a refreshing dryness that is clean tasting and crisp.
Chipotle Chili Layered with Cornbread
For the Chipotle Chili
- 2 pounds ground beef (sometimes the butcher will label it “chili mix”– the beef is thicker than regular hamburger meat)
- 1 pound spicy sausage (I use Jimmy Dean HOT sausage)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 2 medium or 1 large yellow/white onion diced
- 4-5 garlic cloves diced
- 2 jalapeno peppers diced (not seeds)
- 2 cans Rotel tomatoes (original)
- 1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
- 1 can of red beans with juice (Kidney)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (diced with seeds), plus 4 Tablespoons of sauce (if you want to cut down on the spice, omit the actual peppers and just use the sauce.
- 1 12 oz bottle amber beer
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Cocoa
- 2 cups of beef stock (I prefer using “Better Than Bouillon” paste. You boil 2 cups of water and add 2 Tablespoons of the paste and mix.)
- 2 Tablespoons Cumin
- 4 Tablespoons Chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon Onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons Paprika (Hungarian/spicy is best)
- 2 Tablespoons Brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Black pepper
- 4 ears corn on cob, cut off cob
- Bunch of Scallions chopped to garnish
- Shredded cheese to top
- Sour cream to top
For the cornbread
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 cups Cornmeal Mix (not plain cornmeal! I use White Lily’s Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix)
- 2 1/2 cups Buttermilk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 jalapeños chopped up with seeds (optional)
- 1 egg
For the chipotle chili
- In a large saucepan, brown chili meat and sausage. Do not drain.
- In a separate frying pan, melt butter and saute onion, garlic, jalapeno, and corn until soft, 5-7 minutes.
- Add to beef saucepan and stir to combine.
- Add all the spices to the beef mixture and saute over medium heat until combined.
- Pour in everything else and simmer for 2-3 hours!
- Top with chopped scallions, sour cream, and shredded cheese.
For the cornbread
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a large bowl, mix together buttermilk, egg, salt, cornmeal mix and chopped jalapeños. It should be about the consistency of pancake batter.
- In a cast iron skillet, cook 6 bacon slices on medium-high heat until they’re crisp and all the fat is rendered in the pan.
- Take out the bacon and turn up the heat until the bacon drippings start to smoke.
- Pour cornbread batter into the skillet immediately. (The hot bacon fat makes a decadently crispy crust on the cornbread.)
- Then put the skillet in the oven uncovered and bake at 400 for 40 minutes.
To layer in mini mason jars
- Using one mini mason jar as a “biscuit cutter” push into cooked cornbread to cut a perfect circle of cornbread to fit into the bottom of the mason jar. Spoon chili on top. Repeat with the second circle of cornbread, spoon more chili into jar and top with sour cream, chives, and cheese.
- Make sure to keep the mason jar tops– you can simply put the tops back on to save leftovers and pop the jar into the fridge or back into your tailgating cooler.