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What's Chili Without Cornbread?

Here is the first of many of my recipes that I will be sharing with you. This Chili recipe is especially memorable because it was one that I worked on to create our Southwest Chili Pie. When we started Noble Pies, we did not offer savory pies for the first couple of years. As I thought about ways to get people to come into the bakery more often, I started thinking about savory pies. I believed that if we could offer a savory pie for lunch or dinner we could get more people coming to our store. I started to experiment on the family. Between my husband Tom and our three children, Sarah, Zachary and Sam I knew I could get some honest feedback on my creations.

I grew up eating chili. From autumn until early spring my mom, Lyn made chili for the family on a regular basis. One of the things I liked best about her chili were the green peppers she added to it. I took her recipe and made a few modifications. I added a few extra things like more beans and some corn. What I love about this is that if you decide to leave out the meat it is still just as delicious. The idea was to take this chili and put it in a pie tin. Next, I needed to make it a compete meal. I added some homemade cornbread batter and put a dollop right in the center of the pie. I baked it wondering what would happen and bingo, the cornbread cooked perfectly. That night at dinner I served it up. The whole family loved it! We made it this way for a couple of years at Noble Pies but customers kept asking to buy a quart of chili. They wanted to take it home and have a bowl of chili.

So, we eventually switched over from selling it as a pie to selling it by the quart.

The recipe is a quick delicious meal and there are always leftovers!

Noble Pies Southwest Chili

Sauté in a large pot over medium heat:

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

When meat is browned and onion is translucent, about 10 minutes, add:

One 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained

One 15 ounce can of red kidney beans, drained

1 cup of frozen corn

½ of a chopped green pepper

1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup of water

2-3 TBS chili powder (or more to taste)

1 TBS ground cumin

1-2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 servings.

If you decided to go without the meat just add one 15 ounce can of cannellini beans, undrained. Everything else will stay the same.

We serve our chili with chopped red onions, sour cream, and malt vinegar (yes, my husband turned us on to malt vinegar and it is amazing!).


We could never have chili without cornbread in our household. It’s just not allowed! It’s quick and easy to make.

I have two favorite cornbread recipes. I thought the one I would include here is the one that has cornmeal and corn kernels too! This is Dorie Greenspan’s recipe.

Dorie Greenspan's Corniest Corn Muffins

Baking from My Home to Yours

Yield: 12 regular-sized muffins or 48 miniature ones

1cup all-purpose flour

1cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

1cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 tablespoons corn oil (I used olive oil since it was handy)

1large egg

1large egg yolk

1 cup corn kernels (add up to 1/3 cup more if you'd like) - fresh, frozen or canned (in

which case they should be drained and patted dry)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12

molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively,

use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin

pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda,

salt and nutmeg, if you're using it. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk

the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, egg and yolk together until well blended. Pour the liquid

ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but

quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough - the batter will be lumpy, and

that's just the way it should be. Stir in the corn kernels. Divide the batter evenly among

the muffin cups.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes (12 minutes for minis), or until the tops are golden and a thin

knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack

and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.


I have made the muffins and they turn out great but I also like to take this recipe and cook it in a cast iron skillet. Cooking it in cast iron will give it a crisp golden crust and leave the inside tender and moist. A 10” skillet works well for this recipe. You will need to preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven. Make the cornbread batter. Remove the hot

skillet from the oven (don’t forget the handle is HOT! Remove carefully with oven mitts). Coat the bottom of the skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter. Immediately, add the batter and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. The top should be golden brown. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then it is ready to serve. I love to serve cornbread with some sides such as honey, butter and or jam. Left over cornbread is delicious the next morning warmed up and served with eggs!

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