Two Bean Chili with Hatch Cornbread
The thing that makes me happiest every month is preparing and writing my column in Fort Worth Texas Magazine. I started writing my Chef Impersonator column in June and it’s just been a dream come true.
The October issue is titled, Spice Up Your Game Day Menu, where I share my chili recipe and a moist, sweet Hatch Cornbread,paired with a spicy Michelada, or Mexican Beer.
October is National Chile Month and I’ve got the perfect recipe for your game day party or any cool October night. I got my chili recipe in about 1985 from my ex-husband’s boss’s wife Debra in Chalmette, Louisiana, where she served it for dinner. It was so good that I immediately asked her for the recipe, and I’ve been making it ever since. You can see from my original recipe card that I’ve made this recipe many, many times. Now Chalmette, Louisiana is not exactly the chili capital of the world, and it’s certainly not Terlinga, Texas, but they sure made some mean chili down in the bayou. And since I won an actual chili cook-off with this recipe, I guess that means it’s pretty darn good.
Now in Texas, we’ve all heard the age-old dispute about whether chili should have beans or no beans, and there’s an old saying that goes, “If you know beans about chili, you know that chili has no beans”. But this is chili, and it does have beans. As a matter of fact, it has 2 beans – Garbanzo beans (aka Chick Peas), and good old red kidney beans. It’s said that the reason Texas chili has no beans is because the cowboys, who were originally Mexican, simply didn’t have the time to soak and cook them and this carried on to the chuck wagon days of the old West. So if you’re a Texan, and you can bring yourself to overlook the old no-bean theory, you’re going to just love this Two Bean Chili.
And nothing goes with a big bowl of chili like warm, moist, homemade cornbread, which I make with fresh Hatch green chiles and whole kernel corn. You can use corn fresh off the cob or good quality canned or frozen corn. I prefer frozen corn just for the simplicity of it, and when it’s in the cornbread, you really can’t tell the difference.
To top off our game day menu, we’re making a spicy cerveza preparada, or Michelada, made popular in Mexico in the 1940’s when townspeople started mixing beer with hot sauce or salsa. The word Michelada or mi chela helada, means “my cold, light beer.” Much better than a cold Miller Light.
My Michelada uses a special concoction called Willie’s Hog Dust Original Bloody Mary Mix that you can find online at www.willieshogdust.com. You can also use tomato juice or Clamato juice. All work well in this delicious Mexican cocktail.
Enjoy this warm, spicy game day menu. And remember, with a little practice, you too can be a Chef Impersonator!
PS — The World Championship Chili Cookoff is being held October 24-26, 2014 at the MGM Resorts Festival Village in Las Vegas, Nevada. For information, visit www.chilicookoff.com
Game Day Two Bean Chili
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casing
1 lb. lean ground beef or chili meat
2 C diced yellow onion
1 C diced green pepper
3 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press or finely minced
¼ C flour
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin seed
2 tsp. dried basil, crumbled between your palms
2 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled between your palms
1 tsp. salt
2 cans (28 oz.) Italian style tomatoes
1 can (20 oz.) Garbanzo beans, undrained
1 can (15 ¼ oz.) red kidney beans, undrained
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce (I’ve never used this much. Start with ½ tsp. and add more if needed)
Topping Options: diced onions, grated cheddar cheese, dollop of sour cream
Cook sausage, ground beef, onion, green pepper and garlic until vegetables are tender. Drain the fat. Stir in flour, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and if using whole, break them up with a spoon. Stir in Garbanzo beans, kidney beans, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Simmer for 3 hours, adding water if needed. Serve with diced onions, grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Makes 3 quarts, or 8 servings.
Cast Iron Skillet Hatch Cornbread
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup Quaker yellow corn meal
¼ tsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup skim milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
¼ cup diced Hatch green chiles (mild or hot)
½ cup frozen whole kernel corn, defrosted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the entire inside of a 9” cast iron skillet. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Then add milk, oil, egg, chiles and corn and stir well. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour into cast iron skillet and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Cut into wedges and serve warm with real creamery butter.
1 12 oz. Negro Modello or Corona beer (or your beer of choice)
1 lime, juiced
1 – 2 dashes Tabasco (or any hot sauce of your choice)
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
3 oz. Willie’s Hog Dust Original Bloody Mary Mix (or tomato or Clamato juice)
Lime wedge for garnish
Mix chili powder and salt, wet the rim of a beer glass with a lime wedge, and set rim down into salt/chili powder mixture to coat the rim. Add lime juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire and Bloody Mary mix and stir well. Add ice and 1 bottle of beer, and serve.
Watch me make a Michelada at www.fwtexas.com/videos/michelada-cocktail
As always, a special thanks to our friends at Central Market in Fort Worth