Chili cornbread casserole is a delectable one-dish meal that combines the heartiness of chili with the sweetness and moistness of cornbread. This dish is the epitome of comfort food and is a great addition to your weeknight dinner lineup, especially during the cold winter months. It's a crowd-pleaser that's also fantastic for make-ahead meals or potlucks.

Chili Cornbread Casserole

Ingredients for the Perfect Chili Cornbread Casserole

For the Chili:

  • 1 pound (450g) ground beef or turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Cornbread:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg

Optional Toppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onions
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Step-by-Step: Preparing a Chili Cornbread Casserole

Step One: Prepare the Chili

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground meat until browned. Drain excess fat.
  2. Add the diced onions and bell pepper to the skillet with the meat. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step Two: Make the Cornbread Batter

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, and egg.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Step Three: Layer and Bake

  1. Spoon the chili into the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish, spreading it evenly.
  2. Carefully spoon the cornbread batter over the chili, spreading it to the edges of the dish to seal in the chili.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Step Four: Serve and Store

  1. Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes, then serve with optional toppings as desired.
  2. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. The casserole can also be frozen; store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Insightful Tips for Your Chili Cornbread Casserole

  • To add an extra kick to your chili, consider using diced green chilies or a dash of hot sauce.
  • For a vegetarian twist, substitute the ground meat for extra vegetables or textured vegetable protein (TVP).
  • You may need to adjust the baking time depending on the depth of your casserole dish and your oven, so keep an eye on the cornbread's progress.
  • This casserole pairs well with a fresh mixed green salad or a side of steamed vegetables for a balanced meal.

By following these steps, you'll create a chili cornbread casserole that's packed with flavor and texture. Feel free to make it your own by adding your favorite spices or experimenting with different chili variations. Enjoy this comforting meal with friends and family, and don't hesitate to share this guide with others who appreciate the joy of homemade comfort food.

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