Chili and Cornbread


Most of the recipes we offer on He Cooks She Cooks are more like guidelines. We know we don’t have the authority to tell you how exactly to make something. We barely listen to the great chefs whose recipes we look at. The way we see it, there are infinite ways to make great food. As long as you have an idea how you want something to taste in the end, you can keep adding till you get there — or somewhere close.

This chili, for instance, is unbelievably forgiving. Beans, vegetables, meat (or not) and spices. Throw varying amounts of those in a pot, simmer for a while, then serve.

We had ours with homemade cornbread. I finally made the New York Times recipe I’d been wanting to try all year: Brown Butter Cornbread with Thyme and Farmer Cheese. How could you go wrong with those ingredients, right? Well the result wasn’t bad. It just…wasn’t how I like my cornbread. I guess I, like Deb in the Smitten Kitchen, like my cornbread on the sweeter side, but didn’t know it until I had this much more savory version. If you’re in the camp that would prefer something like this, then by all means, go thyme and brown butter crazy.

In the meantime, here’s a list of what we put in the chili. Add and subtract ingredients as you wish.


  • Kidney beans
  • Ground chorizo
  • Stewed tomatoes with juice (You can put in some beef/vegetable broth or water if you need more liquid)
  • Onion
  • Corn
  • Bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Habanero
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Dried oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

In a large pot, saute onions and vegetables a few minutes with a little oil, salt and pepper. Add beans, spices and tomato juice. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. We cooked the chorizo separately and removed some of the fat before adding to the pot. Then the whole thing simmered for 30-40 minutes, until the beans were cooked. If you use precooked canned beans, this will be even shorter. 

Serve however you like your chili — with chips, sour cream, cheese, etc. We really recommend fresh cilantro on top.

5 Replies to “Chili and Cornbread”

  1. I’ve been thinking about making that cornbread, too. I also prefer it to be on the sweeter side, so am glad to know I should defer to Deb’s recipe. I’m a huge fan of chili, btw. Mmm chorizo..

  2. Those interested in cornbread might enjoy this column from our blog about cornbread and the differences between recipes, folded into a review of a cornbread cookbook:

    http://cherthollowfarm.blogspot.com/2008/11/book-review-cornbread-gospels.html

    I’m at the other end from most folks here, preferring my cornbread with as few additions as possible. Sweetener goes on top, not inside. That NYT ingredient list made the Southern part of my soul shudder!

    What kind of cornmeal are you using?

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