I was talking to my friend Cara the other day about cornbread recipes. I mentioned that if she wanted something other than cornbread, I really liked this recipe for corn pudding from Epicurious. Then, she told me it was for a chili accompaniment, so I agreed that cornbread would probably be better. Later that day, I started thinking – why not just combine the chili and corn pudding into one dish? I’ve made this corn pudding recipe as-is several times (don’t ask me why I’ve never blogged it because I’m not sure) and it’s fabulous. I changed it up quite a bit for this topping, though, and it worked well.
Though I made a full batch of the chili, I froze half of it, so I only made half of the corn pudding recipe I’ve listed below. You can make your own judgement call on the chili-to-corn pudding ratio. I think the recipe below would fit perfectly into a cast iron skillet, which is definitely what I would have done had I made an entire batch of the topping. I just wanted to make sure I had a little in every bite, which is why I didn’t use my wide skillet and used a casserole dish instead. Some parts of the corn pudding will sink a bit during baking, but most will stay on top and get puffy, golden, a little crispy (and a lot delicious).
You can absolutely bake the chili & corn pudding casserole in the same pot you used to make the chili. I didn’t because I was using a rather large pot and the chili only filled about half of it, but definitely do that if you don’t want to get another pan dirty.
Corn-Pudding Topped Chili Con Carne
Corn pudding topping adapted from Epicurious
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 chipotles in adobo, minced
1.5 cups beef broth
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 Tbsp. oregano
salt and pepper
1 can black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 poblano chiles
2 cups corn (fresh or frozen, thawed)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sour cream (light is fine)
6 Tbsp. masa harina
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
To make the chili: Heat the canola oil in a pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the beef pieces with salt and pepper and then add to the hot oil to brown. Remove from the oil and drain any excess fat.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onion (adding more oil if necessary) until translucent. Stir in the garlic and chipotles and cook for another minute.
Add the beef broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to pickup any bits of meat. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the beef back in and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1-1.5 hours. Remove the lid, add the beans, and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reseason to taste if necessary.
To make the corn pudding: Char the poblano peppers directly over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Set in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin and dice the peppers.
In a food processor or blender, combine 1.5 cups of corn, the eggs, butter, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Process until combined and relatively smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sour cream, masa, cornmeal, cheese, and poblanos.
To assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 350. Pour the chili into a baking dish (or leave it in the oven-safe pot you used to cook it). Dollop the corn pudding mixture all over the top of the chili. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until pudding is golden and set.
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