When you can’t have bread…

DSC03679(because we just had amazing garlic bread at my mother’s house last night!)

… then have bread on TOP of your regular supper!!!

In this case, chili, with cornbread on top.  Always a hit, but this could easily be made with this quick n’ easy beer bread instead. 

The chili around here is usually pareve, so I used milk in the cornbread; if the chili had meat, you could just use water – if I’m using tinned corn, I’ll save the corn water and use that – or some pareve kind of milk, but I don’t adore pareve milks in baking.

Use any chili you want:  homemade, storebought, whatever – just make sure it’s very moist, or you’ll be gasping for liquids as you eat it, because the cornbread sucks up some of the liquid, while DSC03676baking evaporates some.  Lose-lose, so start with a very wet chili.

The cornbread on top is adapted from the Joy of Cooking, and I usually double it, because we love it like crazy and one batch just isn’t enough:


  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp regular, not kosher, salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • (April 22/13, made this again today and realized it doesn’t have salt in it; the original recipe may have omitted it, but I recommend a tsp of salt)


    1. Preheat oven to 425°.
    2. Pour prepared chili into a 9x13 pan – make sure there’s enough room on top for the cornbread mixture.  Put a baking sheet underneath if you think it might overflow.  Ask me how I know this!  (see pic above – there is NO room; I had to divide this chili into 2 tinfoil pans)
    3. Combine dry ingredients well in a bowl.
    4. Combine wet ingredients well in a measuring cup.
    5. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients.
    6. Stir gently ONLY until combined – not a second longer.  I use a rubber spatula for this step so as not to overmix.
    7. “Plop” cornbread mixture hither and thither, in evenly spaced blobs, all over the chili.  Don’t worry if it starts to sink a bit; it will rise during baking.
    8. Bake at 425° until cornbread is brown, about 20-25 minutes.

    In case you’re curious, here’s  a rough breakdown of the chili itself, because it’s very easy:

    • 2 tins of kidney beans, drained and rinsed (hint: open upside-down; they’re easier to drain that way)
    • 1 tin of diced tomatoes
    • 1 packet of taco seasoning (we use Ortega)
    • 1 big purple onion, diced
    • 2 carrots, cubed
    • red pepper, diced, if desired
    • Garlic, as much as you can stand
    • Tinned or frozen corn, ditto
    • Any other veg you want to include
    • Tofu, TVP, whatever you want to boost the protein / texture
    • Tin Cream of Tomato soup, or not, whatever you want


    1. In a large pot, fry onion in oil.
    2. Add carrots, fry till slightly softened.
    3. Add red pepper, ditto.
    4. Add kidney beans, ditto.
    5. Add garlic and mix well.
    6. Add taco seasoning and mix well.
    7. Add tomatoes.
    8. Add 1-2 cups of water, as desired
    9. Add frozen or tinned corn.
    10. Add Cream of Tomato soup, if using.
    11. Stir well and bring to a boil.
    12. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, until flavours are well-combined.  Add chili powder, cumin, cilantro, or anything else to add authenticity, or just leave it the way it is if you’re feeding little kids.
    13. Serve on its own, with cornbread – or, better still, with cornbread ON TOP!!!


    1. I make something very much like this, but with beans, rice, a little cheese, and sometimes corn - like burrito filling. I put tomato sauce with spices or taco sauce in there, and then top it with cornbread batter. I seal the beans/rice in with the batter, though, and then don't have the evaporation issues as much.

      We'll have to try this, too!


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