Classic Beef Chili with Cornbread Crumble

If what I hear on Facebook and CNN, my two news sources, is true, it’s cold out pretty much everywhere.  I’m reading stories about school being canceled in Austin, TX, and while the threat of ice there is as serious as actual ice, it would seem that most of the country needs this chili.
It may be my Texas roots, but to me nothing is more appropriate on a day when your windows are freezing from the inside, than a warm, slightly spicy bowl of chili.  I like all kinds–vegetable chili, turkey chili, bean chili, and especially the classic version with ground beef, lots of spices, and cornbread.  I do not like white chicken chili.  That’s a different story, though.

Recently I’ve launched a new feature exclusively on my Facebook page.  I’m giving my Facebook fans a little glimpse into my weekly menus by sharing what I plan to make for the week on Monday mornings.  I share my menus and I love hearing what you are planning on making.  Click on over to my page and “like” it to get my weekly updates and weeknight recipe inspiration.  I’m thinking this beef chili would make a welcome addition to next week’s menu.

Let’s make chili.  This really couldn’t be easier and every time I make it, I change it up a little bit.  This time, I took my classic chili recipe and instead of using generic chili powder, I used Pasilla chili powder from Dean and Deluca, which I brought back from Napa.  The result was a slightly smoky and very deep chili flavor.  I think it totally made the dish.

It starts with onions, garlic, and beef.  Throw it all in a big pot and let it cook until the onions are soft and the meat is completely browned.
Next, gather your spices and your liquid.
Add cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, a little bit if cayenne pepper, and a lot of chili powder.
Next add a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes that you’ve crushed with your hands and a can of tomatoes and green chilies.
You could also add a can of drained and rinsed beans, like black beans or red kidney beans, but I wanted a classic, meaty, bean-less chili.

Bring that to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer.  Let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes, so the flavors concentrate and deepen.  Meanwhile, bake your favorite cornbread, which coincidently should take about that long.

Serve in bowls with cornbread crumbled on top.
The cornbread is slightly sweet and crumbles into the chili thickening it a bit.  The chili is smoky and a little spicy and will be sure to make you forget about the “real feel” of the temperature outside, which is entirely too far away from the positive side of the thermometer.
I love a good bowl of chili and it helps that it’s easy to throw together on a weeknight.  Make this next week, or put a pot on Sunday afternoon for a comforting Sunday dinner.  Even better, the Super Bowl is coming up, as if you didn’t know, and this is guaranteed to please your crowd.
And psst… it’s really good on nachos too.  But what isn’t?

Here’s the recipe.

Classic Beef Chili with Cornbread Crumble


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (single source, like Pasilla chili powder, if you can find it!)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, with the juice in the can
  • 1 16-ounce can of tomatoes and green chilies, like Rotel
  • Cornbread for serving


  1. Add olive oil to a large pot.  Add onions, garlic, and ground beef and cook until the beef is completely browned and the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add seasoning and cook for 1 minute more.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes and Rotel and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the flavors have concentrated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve immediately with crumbled cornbread on top.  True story, I really love Jiffy Corn Muffin mix and it’s my go-to anytime I use cornbread.  No shame here.  Other toppings options include but are not limited to: chopped green onions, shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, etc.


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