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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just in time for the Super Bowl!! Cornbread-topped chili; BBQ beef ribs

 Easy Super Bowl Party Recipes

Super Bowl Sunday, February 6, will likely be one more of those snowy, icy evenings that we have been enjoying lately, and you might be wondering what dishes you might want to create for your guests that are easy to prepare with a minimum of fuss. Here are two great recipes: Cornbread-topped Chili, and BBQ Short Ribs of Beef. These two dishes, my corn and black bean salsa (July 15, 2010 posting), some frosty beer, chips and dip, and other party what-have-you, and you have yourself a Super Bowl party!


Cornbread-topped Chili
Cornbread-topped Chili is a ridiculously easy dish that looks and tastes spectacular.  It is simply this: thick, spicy beef and bean chili in a baking dish, topped with cornbread batter, baked in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and firm,  topped with shredded cheddar and baked for a few minutes more until the cheese is melted. That's it!  What, you don't have a favorite Chili recipe?  Well, I have one right here for you!  And you don't have a cornbread recipe?  Hold on, you can use a mix!  I used one and it comes out great.

I was leafing through a magazine one day and saw a picture of this dish, and thought it was a great idea.  The chili recipe was not that great, so I thought, why not substitute my own chili recipe? There was a recipe for cornbread, but I know how to make cornbread from scratch, so how hard could this recipe be?  I figured I would give it a try when I had my next party. On that day, I found that I had run out of corn meal flour: the only thing I had was a package of  Penguin ( cornbread mix that I had picked up in BJ's on a whim. I had made a few batches over the summer and found it makes some very fine cornbread, cakey and sweet with added corn kernels. Surprisingly, the combination of sweet and spicy hot worked quite well.  I imagine any good mix will work, as well as any good scratch recipe.
Preparing cornbread batter

Spreading the chili

1 batch of corn bread batter
1/2 cup (less or more to taste)
     shredded cheddar cheese
9-10 cups chili with ground beef and
     beans ( your own, or see recipe

Spreading batter over chili
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare your favorite chili, or use the recipe below. Simmer until thick.
  • Prepare your favorite cornbread mix, or buy a bag of yellow corn meal and follow the directions on the package for one batch of cornbread. 
  • Spoon the chili into a 9 X 13 pan. I like the Pampered Chef stoneware pan. 
  • Spread the cornbread batter over the chili.
  • Bake for for hour, or until golden brown and firm.
  • Take out of the oven, sprinkle evenly with cheddar, and bake until cheese is melted, just two or three minutes.
  • Serve either hot or warm.  I found that you can heat this in the microwave the next day without compromising taste.

The Chili Recipe
First, a word about my chili. This is a family favorite which I have been making for years.  It is not authentic, but it is rich, thick, and spicy. Authentic would mean slowly cooked whole cuts of beef and no beans. I use ground beef and canned beans, sometimes, horrors, I don't even drain them.  It would probably horrify a Mexican cook,  but many so-called Italian dishes would horrify me, however people who make them enjoy them. I make no apologies!
Santoku knife in action
Also some words about some of the cooking tools I used to prepare this dish: a Santoku knife, a new discovery of mine, and an old-fashioned potato masher.  The Santoku knife is a small cleaver-like knife, with a hollow edge which prevents the food from sticking. I never used one before, and I found that it cuts true and straight and made short work of the peppers and onions I had to dice so small.  I recommend it highly, as well as a good chef's knife, which is my workhorse.
Old-fashioned potato masher

The potato masher has many uses: it's not only used for mashing potatoes! In this recipe, I used it for breaking up the ground meat right in the pan as it cooks, and to mash the beans about halfway through the cooking process. I got this one at an antique store in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. It's hard to find this design!


It must be THICK!
1/2 pound ground beef
2 cans of  red kidney beans, 15.5 oz., I use Goya
2 cans Del Monte (or other brand) tomato sauce,
   8 oz. each
1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz.
1 can corn, 12 oz.
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
1 yellow onion, diced small
chili powder, at least 1/4 cup
4 or 5 slices jalapeno peppers, I like El Paso
1 tsp. cumin
1 tablespoon tabasco, sriracha* or other hot chili sauce
Salt to taste
1 bay leaf (make sure you remove this after Chili is done!)

Sauteed peppers and onions
  • In a dutch oven, break up and saute ground beef until it loses its pinkness.
  • Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir
  • In a separate saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the diced peppers and onions. When soft and almost transparent, stir into beef and tomato mixture.
  • Add spices to taste
  • Using a potato masher, periodically crush the chili mixture as you cook it,that helps to thicken it
  • Taste, taste, taste as you go!
  • Simmer for as long as it takes to produce a thick chili

WOW is all I can say
This fine recipe has only two ingredients, and you don't need a barbecue. I originally saw Sunny Anderson ( prepare something similar to this on the Food Network. It looked so good!  The only difference between my recipe and hers is that she made her own barbecue sauce, which you certainly can do. However, I found that a simple bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, or my favorite, Sweet Baby Ray's ( is certainly more than adequate. I also used short ribs of beef, instead of boneless ribs. All you need besides the beef and sauce is a working oven and some patience.  
When done, the meat just falls off the bone. So tender, so delicious!  


1 dozen short ribs of beef
1 bottle (18 oz) Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce, or your favorite brand, or your own recipe
3 hours of cooking time!
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • Place short ribs in a 9X13 stoneware, cast iron, or other heavy pan
  • Pour barbecue sauce over ribs
  • With hands or wooden spoons, depending on how squeamish you are, and toss ribs in sauce until fully coated
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for two and a half hours
  • Uncover and bake in order to caramelize, for additional half hour
  • Stir once more to coat with sauce
  • Serve hot!

Enjoy the game!

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