Cornbread Topped Chili Con Carne

Total Time:
14 hr 30 min
30 min
12 hr
2 hr

up to 20 servings

  • Chili:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried or crushed chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 5 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 pounds 4 ounces ground beef
  • 7 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 3 1/2 cups canned red kidney beans
  • Cornbread:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar
  • Guacamole, recipe follows
  • Serving suggestion:
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • Ground paprika, for dusting
  • 3 3/4 cups grated Cheddar
  • Special equipment: Very large pan
Serving suggestion:

Heat the oil in a very large pan and fry the onion and garlic until it begins to soften. Add the chili, coriander, cumin, and crushed cardamom pods and stir well.

Add the peppers then break up the ground beef into the pan and, using a fork, keep turning it to separate it as the meat browns. Add the chopped tomatoes, ketchup, tomato puree, and water stirring to make a rich red sauce. When the chili starts to boil sprinkle over the cocoa and stir it in. Add the beans and simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 hours. At this point you can cool and freeze the chili, or just keep it in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pour the chili into a large, wide dish or keep in the pan you cooked it in if it is ovenproof.

Combine the salt, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, honey, and oil in a jug, and then stir into the dry ingredients mixing to make a vivid yellow batter.

Pour the cornmeal topping over the chili con carne, or blob it over to cover the top as evenly as possible.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the cornbread and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cornbread topping is risen and golden and the chili underneath is bubbling. How long this takes depends on the how cold or hot the chili was when it went into the oven. Since it's such a huge vat, you may find it easiest to reheat it on the stove in its pan first.

Let the chili stand for about 5 minutes once out of the oven before cutting the cornbread top into squares or slices to serve with a helping of chili underneath.


4 ripe avocados, peeled, stoned and chopped

4 scallions, finely chopped

2 limes, juiced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Mash the avocados with the scallions and add the juice of up to 2 limes, to taste. Stir in most of the cilantro and turn into 2 bowls, sprinkling each with the remaining cilantro.

Divide the sour cream into another 2 bowls, and dust with a little paprika and, into another pair of bowls add the grated Cheddar so that people can take clumps and add the tangy cheese to their plates of guacamole and sour cream splodged chili.

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4.2 58
The best chili I've ever made and the only chili my daughter ever asks me to cook. The richness of the flavors melds everything together wonderfully and I think the cocoa really makes this dish. The only thing I don't use is the ketchup, which is simply a taste preference. I usually use cornmeal flour for cornbread so I didn't have any problems with the cornbread portion of the recipe. I think maybe that's something each person just has to work with and adjust according to what they like. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Dreadful! Agree with comments from other reviewer's - it cost a fortune to make and alot of mucking around to try and find cornmeal (an ingred. not often found in Australian supermarkets. Tasteless, dry, the cornbread was like lead - I followed the recipe "to the letter". I thought it would be OK as it came from Nigella but what a mistake! I chucked most of it out item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was AWFUL!!!! I will admit to having made my own chilli as I have made it for years and it is tried and tested, but I love cornbread and so made my chilli and then followed Nigella's recipe for the cornbread and then applying it to the chilli... I was extremely disappointed! Any liquid and juice of the original chilli completely disappeared and the cornbread was dry and every mouthful was difficult... There was no moistness left! :( It was dry cornbread and dry chilli :( Very disappointing! Chilli requires some liquid sauce and I had loads until I applied the cornbread topping. This recipe just doesn't work :( item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried the chili recipe because the ingredients sounded different than what I usually see in a chili recipe ie cardamom pods. It was quite tasty, but I did add seasonings as the chili cooked. The cornbread was really really dry. I liked that the recipe called for more corn meal than flour, but that might have been the reason it was dry. No one would eat it, especially those who like traditional moist cornbread without cinnamon. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this recipe. We make it every year for Super Bowl Sunday. It's so easy because you can make the chili the day before (it's better if you do, then just reheat, mix up the batter, and bake. The spicing is different than most "American" chilis but very delicious and little bit sophisticated. The cocoa makes a huge difference! The only things I change: 1. I add some salt and more red pepper flakes. 2. I drain the fat from the beef after browning. 3. I add a cup of water or tomato puree the second day before I reheat it, otherwise it's dry. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Top of the world!! We loved it. My son made it, very tasty, spicy, just the way we like it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this (a half batch and used less cinnamon because of the reviews. The cornbread topping didn't have much flavor and soaked up a lot of the chili and kind of ruined the dish. I was really looking forward to liking this after seeing Nigella prepare it on TV. Also, the chili was a little bland itself so I added smoked salt and some extra hot sauce and the chili was fairly decent itself. I ended up scooping the cornbread off the top and throwing it out and saved some of the chili for leftovers. I have to say that the quacamole on the chili was quite nice, though. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this chili and cornbread for superbowl. The cornbread soaked up a good amount of the chili, so not much left in the bottom of the dutch oven. It did cook through though and we were able to eat it. Very different! I did make the chili again but made the cornbread separate. Very good. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Had a large back yard party with 3 different chili recipes with related cornbreads, toppings, etc. Personnaly, I don't like beans in my chili. HOWEVER< this recipe chili was the top...the most selected for 2nds and 3rds! Hunger in our neighbors and friends got all 3 chili recipes devoured but this one was the top item not reviewed by moderator and published
If you're like me and afraid to try things because they never turn out good, THIS is the recipe for you. Just follow it and you'll have the most amazingly yummy chili. Mine may have tasted unbelievably good because I used my frozen (or fresh) heirloom brandywine and cherokee purple tomatoes I grew in my garden. I also added cayanne pepper and about 3 times the red pepper flakes because I like my chili HOT! I also salt & peppered it to taste (this will aleviate all the "bland" complaints because this chili is NOT bland.). I also didn't make the cornbread because I DON'T like cinnamon. I would not recommend putting cinnamon in cornbread yuck. I also used certified angus beef which was amazing. If u use good ingredients, you'll get good food. The best thing about this recipe is the chocolate! I used Van Hauten Dutch process chocolate from trader joes, but any good choc powder will work. You can't really taste the chocolate but it's a BRILLIANT way to get super yummy comfort food taste and an amazing richness without adding fat. My olive oil was yummy organic cold pressed and organic garlic & ketchup. Like I said, use good ingredients get amazing flavor. The other thing I liked is that it tasted good right after I made it which usually u have to wait a day for it to taste good. I also made my own kidney beans which I soaked over night and cooked for hours til tender I then added them to the chili last and just simmered 10 minutes before serving since they were already fully cooked to creamy tenderness. Enjoy item not reviewed by moderator and published

Not what you're looking for? Try:

Chili con Carne and Chili con Queso with Tortilla Chips

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse