Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dynamite Chili with Chili Cheese Cornbread Waffles

Dragon's Breath Chili is the actual title, but this chili deserves a string of superlatives like dynamite, awesome, over-the-top-delicious, swoon-worthy... OK, now I'm getting carried away.

This all began with a great chili recipe I found online at the FoodNetwork site. Not every In the Galley post features an original recipe let alone an original idea, and that's the case today. I was content to follow the lead of talented cooks, and work with the ingredients in my pantry. Chili and Spicy Cornbread Waffles sounded like an inspired combination, two stand-alone taste treats that could pair up to deliver more than double the punch as a combo. This duo added a welcome and tasty heat to a chilly December evening.

There's no shortage of chili recipes around here, not likely with dozens of delicious chili variations filed away on my computer. Would you prefer beef, pork, chicken or lamb chili? Red chili or green chili? Chili with black, red, pink or white beans? Chili with no beans at all? Perhaps chili-sauced beans with no meat? We keep taste testing new versions, one batch after another, searching for the ultimate, best-ever, blow-me-away chili recipe. We may have found it this time. I know I've said this before, so I'd better reserve final opinion. 

Four of us made a serious dent in a huge batch of Guy Fieri's Dragon's Breath Chili and everyone gave it two thumbs up on taste. I've noted my tweaks, but recommend the original recipe as a keeper, even though it calls for over 25 ingredients!

The waffles were a fun accompaniment, a change up from the usual tortilla chips. Surprisingly, the results ranged from a pale, wimpy, first-one-off-the-iron reject to a much browner, crispier final waffle after my new waffle iron had finally come to fully hot temperature. (Note to self: don't recommend this new Black and Decker Belgian waffle maker. With a puny 600 watts and lacking a temperature adjustment knob, it wasn't up to the challenge, taking forever to come up to temp and crisp up each waffle.) 

I added 1 diced poblano, a handful of grated pepper jack cheese, a handful of chopped pecans, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup cornmeal and 1/2 cup AP flour to my usual sourdough waffle blend (link -minus the almond extract of course). What was I thinking?!? While not a disaster, these waffles were too close to ordinary in taste. Next time I'll forget the sourdough approach and stick to a standard cheesy jalapeno cornbread recipe with the added punch of cayenne or chipotle. The chili's zippy yet mellow taste made up for any missing hint of corn in the waffles. 

Check into these mouthwatering recipes:
Everyday Southwest: Chili Topped Cornbread Waffles
thekitchn: Cheddar and Green Chile Waffles
King Arthur Flour: Crunchy Cornmeal Waffles with Chili Con Queso
La Kocinera: Vegetarian Three-Bean Chili with Cheddar-Cornmeal Waffles 

...and how about the Hardrock Cafe's Jalapeno Cornbread Waffle with Sauteed Garlic Prawns in Poblano Chili Cream? Oh my, there's a temptation for another day.

An online FoodNetwork recipe by Guy Fieri, the Diners, Drive Ins and Dives dude (my changes noted in red)
Serves 10 or more

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons bacon grease, or canola oil (4 slices thick bacon, diced)
2 red bell peppers, diced (about 2 cups)
2 jalapenos, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
3 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped (1/4 cup dried ancho & chipotle chile slurry)
3 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped (I only had 2)
2 yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
1 head garlic, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 pound boneless chuck, trimmed, in 1/4-inch cubes (used 2 LBS)
2 pounds ground beef, coarse grind (.5 LB beef, 1 LB turkey, .5 LB Basque chorizo with casings removed and coarsely crumbled)
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (without fennel)
2 teaspoons granulated onion
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons hot paprika (substituted Spanish pimenton - smokey paprika)

 2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (omitted)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup tomato paste
12 ounces lager beer (used Alaskan Amber)
1 cup chicken stock
2 (15.5-ounce) cans pinto beans, with juice (needed more
2 (15.5-ounce cans dark kidney beans, with juice (needed more)
Cornstarch or masa harina to thicken, as needed (optional)

Suggested toppings: chopped green onions, shredded cheddar, sour cream

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot cook the bacon till nearly crisp; remove from the pot and set aside.  
  2. Add butter to the bacon grease and melt over high heat. 
  3. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, chiles and onion and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. (This took much longer, and never reached brown caramelization.) 
  4. Add garlic and saute a minute longer. Remove the vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. 
  5. Add chuck to the pan in batches and lightly brown. Set aside to add back in after all meat is browned.
  6. Add ground beef, turkey and sausages to brown and stir gently, trying not to break up the ground meat too much. Cook until meat is nicely browned and cooked through, about 7 to10 minutes. 
  7. Return the browned chuck and vegetables to the pot. Add in granulated onions, granulated garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. 
  8. Add in tomato sauce and paste and stir for 2 minutes. 
  9. Stir in beer and chicken stock. Add beans, lower heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, until meat is tender. 
  10. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
  11. Use a cornstarch or masa slurry to thicken the chili, as needed, according to your preference.
  12. Serve with Chili Cheese Cornbread Waffles in bowls and garnish with Saltine crackers, green onions and shredded Cheddar. (Offer some sour cream on the side for anyone who needs to tame the spicy heat.)

1 comment:

  1. Waffles and chilli?! That is so brilliant, and so beyond the realm of my imagining, that I'm a bit in awe. You crazy Americans you :P


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