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Cornbread and Chili Bake

November 24, 2009

Cornbread Chili Bake

I know you’re all amped up for Thanksgiving and turkey and mashed potatoes (especially the mashed potatoes) but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have to cook a few non-feast meals this week. And if you have a lot of family and friends in town for the holiday, you probably want something easy and cheap. That’s where this cornbread chili bake comes in. This dish is something we used to eat a lot when I was growing up, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it here before. It’s wonderfully warming and super simple, and can easily feed six people. Mix up a little salad on the side and you’re good to go.

Now, I’m not normally one for boxed baking mixes, but I’ve never been able to resist the cheerful box of Jiffy Cornbread mix.

Excellent packaging

If you really don’t want to go the Jiffy route, cornbread isn’t that hard to mix up from scratch. Excellent recipes abound online, and I found this one to be especially awesome (scroll down a bit for the recipe). And hey, if you’re making cornbread for stuffing on Thursday, just mix up a little extra and use it for this recipe. You don’t need very much: I actually used two boxes of Jiffy mix for the dish in the pictures, and it was too much. About 1 1/2 cups of batter should be enough for the final product.

Too much batter

This is too much batter. You should still have some chili peeking around the sides. Cornbread will expand and rise in the oven, and if you use too much batter, you’ll have a very cornbread heavy dish. One box of Jiffy mix is perfect.

You could also use chili from a can, if you are really pressed for time, but making up a batch of homemade chili is so easy that I’d say go for it. I have quite a few chili recipes on this site, but my favorite is this simple vegetarian chili. I usually make some kind of variation on this chili when I want something fast and relatively healthy. And my biggest chili secret? Add about half a cup of brewed coffee with the tomatoes and/or broth. It adds a wonderful, meaty, smoky flavor that can’t be beat.

Once you’ve got your chili cooked and your cornbread batter prepared, preheat the oven to 350F. Pour the chili into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and smooth it out, then carefully pour the cornbread batter over the chili. Using a spatula, smooth it out as best you can. Top the whole shebang with some grated Monterey Jack, cheddar, or pepper jack cheese, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cornbread Chili Bake

Let it cool for a few minutes before serving, and you have yourself an excellent all-in-one meal. You can top it with a bit of sour cream or green onions if you feel the need to make it prettier. This is winter comfort food at its best, and one of my favorite childhood meals. If you’re looking for somethings super easy for this week pre-Thanksgiving smorgasbord, you can’t go wrong with this one. Enjoy!

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