Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chili Cornbread Casserole

Cornbread on top, chili on the bottom. What's not to love? I saw this on a cooking show once upon a time and decided to come up with my own version of it. I tried a little of this and a little of that until I finally found what I wanted. I like to serve it with a big dollop of sour cream on top. How fun is that?? Hope you like it!

2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) pork and beans
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch of sugar
a few dashes Tabasco sauce

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium high heat. Drain excess fat. Add diced onions and continue to saute for a few minutes. Add diced tomatoes, pork and beans and tomato paste. Stir until well combined. Add sugar, cumin and Tabasco sauce. Stir again until well combined. Remove from skillet and place in a 9x13x2" casserole dish. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, and corn muffin mix. Pour batter over beef mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cornbread is done and the chili is bubbly on the bottom.

Even though there's only a pinch of sugar, it's really important to the dish because it gives the smallest hint of sweetness to balance out the heat from the Tabasco. If you're all about the heat, then by all means feel free to crank it up with some chopped jalapenos, chili powder or anything else your spicy little heart desires.
If you don't have a big gang to feed, you can make a smaller batch. Just cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8x8" casserole dish.

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