Chili and cornbread

I love cold weather a LOT. Alas, I live in Texas and cold days are too few for my taste. But when we do get cold weather I use the excuse that it’ll help heat the house as a reason to cook and bake as much as possible. So today, when half the country didn’t get above freezing all day, I present chili and (dairy-free) cornbread.

(Oh yeah…my nine month old nursling has a dairy intolerance so I try to cook and eat dairy free when I can. I still love cheese though.)


1.5 cups dried pinto beans
1 lb ground beef
1 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pints diced tomatoes (I think store-bought cans are 15.5 oz but that’s close enough)
1 pint Rotel or other diced-tomato-and-chilies mix (the jars we canned had jalapenos in them instead of green chilies)
2 cans black-eyed peas
1 T kosher salt
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 T garlic powder
scant 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp red pepper flakes (this chili had plenty of heat from the chili powder and jalapeno/diced tomato mix)
1 bag of steamable Normandy mix veggies (I got mine at Sam’s Club)

Begin by soaking and cooking the pinto beans. I put mine in a pot, poured boiling water over them, boiled them on the stove for 5 minutes and then covered them and walked away for about 4 hours. Then I rinsed thoroughly (all that murky stuff in the water is allegedly what gives you…side effects), covered them with fresh water and simmered for 45 minutes or so. 

As the beans are simmering, brown the ground beef, onion and minced garlic together. When it’s done, add the tomatoes, black-eyed peas, pinto beans (and 1/2 their cooking water), and spices, and bring to a boil. At the same time, cook the veggies according to the package directions, then set them out to cool. 

I had too much water in my chili so I had to let it boil for a long while until it was the consistency I wanted. I like a think, chunky chili. When it was just about there, I chopped the veggies pretty finely and stirred them in. Then I turned the stove down to medium-low and let it all become one while I made the cornbread.

Dairy-free cornbread (adapted from

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a cast iron pan (I used my vintage cast iron cornbread pan because duh, it’s awesome!) with whatever grease your heart desires. My heart desired bacon grease. Then pop it in the oven to get it nice and hot.


Mix all ingredients together, pull the preheated pan out and pour your batter in. Bake until a toothpick tests done – about 13 minutes for me.

Top your chili with sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream if you can have dairy! If you can’t, well, I feel your pain. And I raise a glass of almondmilk in commiseration.

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