Beef chili and cheddar cornbread

A quick, easy meal during the busy holiday rush.

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    Beef chili paired with cheddar cornbread.
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I’ve nearly been swallowed by New York City in the best, all-consuming sense of the word. And this recipe is the best meal I’ve posted yet. Seriously.

Beef Chili

 2 large onions, chopped
 1/4 cup vegetable oil
 1 tablespoon minced garlic
 4 carrots, diced (I also roasted ‘em)
 2 pounds ground beef
 1/4 cup chili powder
 1 tablespoon ground cumin
 1 tablespoon crumbled dry oregano
 Dried red pepper flakes, to taste
 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes
 1 1/4 cups beef broth
 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
 2 8-ounce cans kidney beans
 2 red bell peppers, chopped (I roasted these, too)

Recommended: Quick tortilla chicken soup

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat and cook the onions in it for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for one minute more.

Raise the heat to medium and add the beef, stirring and breaking up any lumps until it is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes, broth and Worcestershire sauce and simmer the chili, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes.

Add the kidney beans, bell peppers, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, until the bell peppers are tender.

Cheddar Cornbread

3 cups all-purpose flour
 1 cup yellow cornmeal
 1/4 cup sugar
 2 tablespoons baking powder
 2 teaspoons kosher salt
 2 cups milk
 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
 8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Mix in 2 cups of the cheddar and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheddar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm.

Related post: Roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and chickpeas

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