Chili and Cornbread

Boy, I hope this stuff turns out alright…

I’m in charge of dinner for the reunion crew tonight, and in the interest of saving money, I decided to go with something that could be made (largely) out of ingredients on hand. There was a six-pound bag of frozen hamburger patties left over from the barbecue on Thursday, and I realized that chili, if done correctly, is one of the most forgiving dishes when it comes to “what kind of meat did you use?”

(note: yes, this is why Wendys makes chili. Yes, Wendys chili comes from burger patties that got cooked, but not used. Or at least it USED to. And yes, it’s still good chili.)

So… I thawed 6 pounds of patties in the nukrowave, and gathered the rest of my ingredients. My sister-in-law insisted on using pinto beans instead of red beans or kidney beans, which kind of ruins the flavor for me, but that’s okay. Pretty much EVERYbody insisted that I not season the chili any spicier than a 2-ounce bottle of “meat paste for babies,” which is also okay… I found the cayenne pepper, and I know how to use it on a bowl-by-bowl basis.

I eyeballed the seasoning: pretty much everything had to be added in amounts of “lots and lots” because there was this six-pound pile of beef to be seasoned. There’s a half-cup or so of chili-powder in there, several dashes of cayenne (they’ll never notice, I swear), and a bunch of onion powder and dried minced garlic. I used three home-bottled bottles of tomatoes, and chopped in one lonely onion that was sitting on the counter saying “I think I was supposed to be used at the barbecue, but nobody cut into me.”

I boiled the whole mess in a really big pot, and then added 1/3 cup of cornmeal as a thickening agent. Somebody (read that “me, but I shouldn’t admit it”) didn’t drain the beans, the meat, the tomatos, or ANYTHING before mixing it all together, and the result needed something to help it, you know… be thick.

The rest of the reunion crew headed off to the local swimming pool, and I started the cornbread… it’s the “Better Homes and Gardens” recipe, multiplied by four. Four cups of cornmeal, four cups of flour, four cups of milk, eight eggs, a cup of sugar… I can’t remember the other ingredients — just that I filled two casserole dishes with batter, and am now waiting impatiently for the timer to tell me that it’s cornbread.

So… I hope this stuff turns out alright. Otherwise 25 people who are tired and hungry from swimming are going to rend me limb from limb.

23 thoughts on “Chili and Cornbread”

  1. When I used to work at Wendy’s they used the “overcooked” burger patties for Chilli meat. I got to both make the patties and the chilli at different points in my somewhat short time working there.

    To the best of my knowledge they still do it that way, at least in my area, although on occasion they have to open up the second grill and have someone make nothing BUT patties for chilli when they have had enough burger orders to prevent having meat left over.

  2. Myself, I like Black Bean Chili, vegetarian or carnivore style. I’m going to try to mutate a recipe for that dark red, almost-black extra-spicy chipotle salsa into a chile recipe with the addition of black beans and maybe sirloin.

    I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  3. I keep telling people that chilli is a summer food, and they just won’t believe me. Chilli is the food that helps the body adjust to it being bleeding HOT all summer so it should be enjoyed copiously and well spiced.

    Note that well spiced means with a kick, and lots of individual flavors. Well spiced does NOT mean will shrivel living flesh at 20 paces, not to be taken internally.


    1. Well spiced means …

      1. Beware of dehydration due to copious sweating;
      2. Not safe for human consumption. Keep away from children;
      3. The EPA just declared the pot a Superfund Site;
      4. ALL OF THE ABOVE!

      People think my Mexican cooking is too hot – only because they’ve never seen my Thai. The one time someone tried some of my Vindaloo it was not pretty. Well, they WERE warned.

      1. Re: Well spiced means …

        Spicy food has lots of spices.

        The “food” you’re describing is better described as a steaming bowl of toxic death (death! death! death!).

        The two should never be confused.


  4. Personally, I don’t much like beans at all.

    But chile works just FINE without them. That is, beef, onion, tomatoes, and lots and lots of spice.

    Go ahead, rend me limb from limb, but chile sans beans con carne, it’s good.

    1. I’d have made a no-bean chili if I’d been confident that we had enough meat to feed everyone. Face it… unless you’re using really, really tasty beans, they’re a filler.


      1. Really tasty beans.

        To get really tasty beans, you have to cook them yourself. I like a mix of mostly dark red kidney beans with some pintos and garbanzos added for my chili mix. It makes for a nice, tasty mix to extend the pot of chili. (Yes, when you get right down to it, beans ARE just filler no matter how tasty they are).

  5. If you added sugar, you made Johhnycake, not cornbread.

    That’s ok.. You’re not Southern. You wouldn’t know.

    Heh. Hope it was good.

    1. Like I said, I made it from the “Better Homes and Gardens” cookbook. They called it “cornbread,” so I did too.

      There was no recipe for “Johnnycake.” 😉

      1. I’ve wondered what “Johnnycakes” were ever since I heard Boney M’s Brown Girl in the Ring….
        listen to it (if you can bear to) and you’ll hear the reference…eaten with fried fish.
        Which is better with scorched taters as per S Gamgee esq.

    2. There are several different variants of wheat bread, rye bread, corn bread, and even cinnamon bread and rasin bread. Each is named after its most noticeable ingredient. Saying cornbread isn’t cornbread when it has sugar in it is like saying an apple danish stops being an apple danish if you add butter.

      (The Scotts insist it isn’t oatmeal if you add milk and sugar. Perhaps then it becomes “porridge”. I wouldn’t know.)

      1. (The Scotts insist it isn’t oatmeal if you add milk and sugar. Perhaps then it becomes “porridge”. I wouldn’t know.)
        I’m English, but…
        – They are the Scots
        – It isn’t oatmeal once you have added the water! Oatmeal is the uncooked ingredient.
        – Once you add the water, it becomes porridge.
        – You don’t tell a Scotsman you are going to add milk and sugar to your porridge, you just do it quietly (although I don’t think it needs sugar – the milk is sweet enough).

  6. Mmmm

    Chili and cornbread? Sounds delicious!

    I love cornbread, but my parents are on the South Beach Diet, so they can’t have any, which means I pretty much never get cornbread anymore (since I’m not in the habit of cooking up a bunch of cornbread just for myself). They also can’t eat Manwich. And one of my favorite dishes is Alamos Pie, which is basically a bunch of manwich (and seasoning and some other stuff) covered in cornbread and cooked in the oven :/

    1. “Corn Bread” Muffins for Atkins and South Beach folks

      I thought this might be of interest. (C’mon howard, tell me you didn’t eat the cornbread!)

      Rani’s No-cornbread Muffins
      1 cup almond flour
      2 eggs
      1 tsp baking powder
      1/4 cup butter, melted
      1 tbsp cream
      2 tbsp water
      2-3 drops liquid AS (I use stevia)
      can add up to 1/4 tsp salt, if you like it on the salty side.
      Mix together all ingredients, spoon into a Pam-sprayed muffin tin.
      Bake for 15 minutes at 350° till the edges are lightly browned.
      Makes 5-6 corn muffins. Can be made in a loaf pan as well.
      Variation: add about 1/3 cup of grated cheddar or jack cheese to the batter.
      Variation: add in a few chopped baby Chinese ears of corn… which are
      surprisingly low in carbs.

      Recipe by Rani Mierens

  7. I also live in the south and Cornbread with sugar is sometimes just called…
    …sweet cornbread 😛 😉

    I prefer red kidney beans with my chili. tomatoes, green bell peppers, onions, meat…yummm..topped off with cheddar cheese….mmmmmmm

    I think I will make chili this week 😀

    1. I, too, am from the south and in my family, we call cornbread with sugar…wrong. Just wrong. That’s just how I was raised, though.

      1. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

        I like mine a tad sweet. Not like a cake sweet. Just with a hint of sweetness 🙂

        We can bring Howard to the South and have a cornbread cookoff!! Winner gets a drawing 😉

    2. Yep, I’m from the South too (you need to capitalize it, ’cause the South is a place, dang it!) 😉 and we call it corncake.

      I need to make some chili again soon. Maybe I’ll make it for my cousins when I get to California in a couple weeks… 🙂

      1. Speaking of corncakes… I like the ones IHOP makes 🙂

        Although to me sweet cronbread and corncakes are very different. Corn cakes are much sweeter, and are usually pancake shaped. Where as cornbread is in squares and not as sweet as corncake. Then again, the South is a huge. Corn bread and variations thereof is open for interpretation.

        Isn’t the South just grand? 😀 I love living here 🙂

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