Chili and cornbread are like two peas in pod


There are some classic meals that become ingrained in your life. Foods that remind you of home. Nourishing. Good.

Years ago I found a recipe. I am pretty sure I got it out of Sunset magazine although I can‘t find it on their website now. No matter. I have made key changes that make it my recipe now. It is a Turkey chili that is made with canned ingredients, comes together in a snap and tastes like it is made from scratch and simmered all day. You can eat it plain out of the pot or garnish it with a choice of many different things. The very best additions enhance the flavors and make them brighter: sharp cheddar, fresh lime juice, cilantro.

The very best thing to round out such a meal in one bowl? Cornbread made with whole grains, not too sweet. Just the clean taste of corn with a hint of honey.

I have made this meal over and over and I never tire of it. I feel good after eating it. It is healthy, low in fat and feels like pure comfort.


Turkey chili

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 fresh jalapeno, diced

1 lb. ground turkey breast

3 tbsp chili powder

8 oz diced green chilies

28 oz can whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes or fire roasted whole tomatoes

Two 15 oz cans of red beans (substitute kidney or pintos is unavailable), with juice

½ cup sliced black olives, drained

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Black pepper, to taste

Garnishes: Shredded sharp cheddar, chopped cilantro, lime wedges

Optional garnish: If not making cornbread, top the chili with corn chips

In a 5 quart saucepan, sauté onions and jalapeno over medium heat in olive oil until just softened. Lower heat to medium. Add Turkey. Brown the turkey until well cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add green chilies, tomatoes and their juices, beans and their juices, drained olives and cloves. If using whole tomatoes, break them up with a spoon. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with garnishes.


Whole grain cornbread

Adapted from Williams Sonoma essentials of baking

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 large eggs, beaten

2 – 3 tbsp honey

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter for greasing skillet

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine eggs, honey, buttermilk, and oil. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined.

On the stovetop, heat a 10” cast iron skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet making sure the sides of the skillet get buttered. As soon as the butter is melted, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the batter to the skillet and put the skillet in the oven. Bake the cornbread until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This is usually about 20 minutes for me if it needs more time, add up to 5 more minutes and test again.


1 Comment

  1. Andreas said,

    August 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I like the colourful splash of the fresh cilantro. And melted cheese looks good on anything. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: