Cast Iron Chili and Cornbread

Japanese Version

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year. Even though it is cold and sometimes uncomfortable, I really enjoy the sunny weather and crispness of cold air. Whenever this time of year comes around one of my favorite activities is to make a delicious winter tradition in my family, chili. Indeed in many parts of America winter is a time for making such dishes and there are even cook-off competitions to see who can make the very best chili.

Chili comes in many different recipes and there are various ways of cooking it, some are spicy some are mild and some are beefy. It seems that almost everyone has their own special way of making chili, and for me that begins with a 100% cast iron dutch oven cookware. I have a collection of cast iron cookware but for making chili my favorite is the Lodge 10 ¼ inch kitchen dutch oven.The reason I like to make chili in this particular dutch oven is because I can make it anytime in the comfort of my kitchen on my IH range without having to use coals as a heat source.

So what is my version of chili? It all begins with the base ingredients. I start of with a KG of ground beef ( sometimes I use chuck or roast) and let it cook just until it’s done. Then add in a few cloves of freshly chopped garlic, a large yellow onion, several green peppers and saute them until the onions translucent.

After this in goes some diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Of course it wouldn’t be chili without the special ingredient of chili, so in goes the chili powder, cumin, oregano, fresh rosemary, thyme and some special ingredients I am not at liberty to say ( a family secret).

In my opinion, you cannot make good chili without adding some beans to it. I prefer red kidney beans, but if I have none of those, pinto beans also do a fine job. Of course the last part of making dutch oven chili is the probably the most important, let it cook on a very low heat for 5 or 6 hours to really bring out all the wonderful flavours.

No chili dish would be complete without a side of good old fashioned cornbread. When making cornbread I also use a trustly old cast iron skillet. This one is a Lodge 10” skillet and makes the perfect baking pan for moist crumbly delicious cornbread.

Corn bread isn’t hard to make, just a little flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda-powder, eggs and pinch salt. I melt a few tablespoons of butter in the skillet and then dump in the batter and put it in the oven for 25 minutes and it comes great every time. After it cools for a good 20 minutes then spread some butter on top with a drizzle of honey.

So if winter has got you feeling a little down may I suggest some cast iron dutch oven home cooked chili and cornbread to raise your spirits? It works for me everytime.

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