Enough Said | Black Bean Chili and Cheddar Cornbread

There really is no explanation needed for the meal pictured above.

It’s Winter. It’s cold out, it gets dark much too early, and most often, leads to cravings for warm, hearty soups and stews. Now, I know that there are a kazillion chili recipes out there, and this might not look like anything special. But it was definitely the best pot of chili I’ve ever made, and so I thought I’d share what went into it. And the cornbread? Chili’s most reliable wingman.

About a year ago, I started adding cocoa into my chili after reading a recipe by Deb from Smitten Kitchen. It might sound strange at first, but the cocoa adds a beautiful richness to the chili. I haven’t made a batch without it since. Don’t be afraid – give it a shot! I promise the chili won’t taste like a chocolate bar. Even though that would be pretty awesome.

Can you believe that I used to hate cornbread?! I claimed that it was disgusting and dry…and then came to the realization that the last time I ate cornbread was at a rather questionable establishment, and that perhaps I should try making my own. Guided by reliable sources, such as Ree and Jenna, I realized that it ain’t so bad. In fact, it’s really good! Now me and cornbread are likethis. This particular cornbread recipe gets a little extra somethin’ from the addition of some sharp cheddar cheese. Served warm with butter and a drizzle of honey. Total magic. For realsies.

Friends, if you’re looking for a comforting meal this winter, give this dynamic duo a try. Maybe this weekend? I hear there’s a big football game on…or something like that…and chili is wicked sports party food! Alongside a pint (or four) of beer, you just can’t go wrong.

Black Bean Chili

2 TBSP. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 medium zucchini, cut into small chunks

2 carrots, chopped small

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

4 TBSP. chili powder

2 TBSP. cumin

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 TBSP. cocoa

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tsp. salt

Pepper to taste

1 large can diced tomatoes

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can brown beans in tomato sauce

2 TBSP. tomato paste

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the onions, cooking for a few minutes, until soft. Add in the garlic, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and cook for a few minutes longer. Add in the spices, cooking for a minute more. Add the tomatoes, beans, and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Allow everything to simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer if possible), stirring occasionally. This is the perfect time to prepare the cornbread!

PS. I added the zucchini, carrots and mushrooms for extra bulk and nutrition, but feel free to substitute for whatever tickles your fancy.

Cheddar Cornbread  (adapted ever-so-slightly from Eat Live Run)

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 (heaping) cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk*

1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, cheese, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and mix well to combine. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately with butter and honey (and chili)!

*If you don’t have buttermilk, combine 1 cup of milk with 1 TBSP. white vinegar and allow to sit for a few minutes before adding to the rest of the ingredients. Instant buttermilk!

Comments

  1. Tracy says:

    Your chili looks delicious! I add cocoa powder to mine as well; I love it that way. Lovely cornbread too!

  2. What a cute post! I ADORE cornbread but have never made my own – I really want to try but lots of the ingredients are quite tricky to get here in the UK ( I KNOW)… I might need to wait til I get back over stateside! Hows the running going???

    • The running is going well! Thanks for asking! :) The only problem is that my metabolism is through the roof and makes me want to eat everything in sight! I need to figure out how to curb my appetite!

  3. Clara says:

    I can totally relate- I didn’t always love cornbread either, it seemed to dry. But add in some cheese and I’m good to go! Ina makes a cheddar and jalepeno one that is to die for.

    • The original recipe that I followed calls for diced green chilies, which would be delicious, but I didn’t have any on hand. However, it was just fabulous without! Honestly, served warm with butter and honey – I might even choose it over cake!

  4. This is an UNBEATABLE combination. Comfort food at it’s very, very best. Yum :)

  5. ohshineon says:

    Whaaaaaaaaat?! Cocoa powder in chili? I am ALL over this recipe.

  6. cibusamare says:

    I’ve never heard of cocoa powder in chili before – but the pictures look delicious! I might be convinced :p

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