Chili con Carne + Gluten-Free Cornbread

Okay, yes, there are no pictures.  But really, that just speaks to the deliciousness of the recipes in today’s post.  This stuff was so good that it was completely gone before I even remembered the camera.  Yeahhh… we were hungry.

I have made chili before.  Many times.  Many times.  With all kinds of ingredients.  Maple syrup, honey, coffee, cocoa, beer, you name it.  Ground beef mostly, but also ground turkey and cubed chicken.  Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans.  Red chili, green chili, white chili.  Seriously, I love the stuff.  Hefty protein from beans and meat, mildly spiced or so hot your nose runs, it’s just good.  Mmm and cumin.  Still, this was a first for me, as I’ve never made chili without beans, or with chuck roast meat at all.  The chili base was really simple, no funky ingredients, but tasted complex and had a mild spice, I would say.

Chili con Carne (2 servings as written – there is enough sauce that, if you added a can of beans, you could probably serve 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. chili powder (ground chiles with seasonings, not plain ground chiles)
  • 1 tsp. chile powder (plain ground chiles)
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 8 oz. chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz. can ground or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • garnishes: cheddar cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, chopped onion, whatever you like on your chili

Directions:

  1. Combine spices in a bowl, and add water, stirring until smooth.
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chuck roast cubes, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Brown on all sides, and then remove to another bowl.
  3. Add onions to pan and cook until they begin to soften.  Add garlic, and cook another few minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for about an hour, or until chuck roast cubes are tender.
  5. Remove lid and continue to simmer until chili reaches desired thickness.  I think ours took about another 20-30 minutes.
  6. Check for seasonings and adjust if necessary – by this I mean check for salt level, spice level, and acidity.  If too acidic, add a little sugar to balance it out.  This is also the time when you would add beans if you so desire, and then heat the chili through before serving.

Cornbread is probably our favorite accompaniment to chili around these parts.  I can’t tell you exactly why, but we never seem to eat anything else with it!  I’ve been trying to move away from using the only two grains most Americans eat (wheat and corn, although I suppose you could add oats and rice as sort of tied for third).  Reason is just that dietary variety is healthy, and just like eating different kinds of vegetables, I’d like to add different kinds of grains to the diet.

This night, I opted to try making flour from quinoa, as we have a surplus of that grain (or seed, really) at the moment, and use it instead of the wheat flour.  I ended up actually using about 80% quinoa to 20% wheat flour, but I am confident you could swap it all.

By the way, I recently read that not all cornmeal is 100% gluten-free, because some is produced in the same facility as glutenous products.  Therefore, if gluten is a serious dietary issue for you, of course, try to find some that is guaranteed gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Cornbread (1 9×9-inch pan)

This is a crumbly, sweet cornbread.  I didn’t have any eggs on hand, so I used the ground flax/water substitute, and as a result am not sure whether the crumbliness is from that, or the quinoa.  There is a ton of room for experimentation here, from using cooked quinoa to beating a separated egg to increased volume before adding, and I will probably continue experimenting.  I happen to prefer a less crumbly cornbread – next time I will probably try it with buttermilk instead of regular nonfat milk to increase the richness, and that may solve the problem.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. quinoa flour (this is probably about 3/4 c. quinoa, ground – I ground 1/2 c. in our coffee grinder and ended up with a little under a cup), or wheat flour
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 2/3 c. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease or spray a 9×9-inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
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