Beans and cornbread

Chili and cornbread, with a fake beer for a fake newsman.

The wind was howling like all the banshees in Ireland and the weather wizards were making snow noises, so last night I cooked a basic chili con carne to stave off pneumonia, chilblains, and the Galloping Never-Get-Overs.

This recipe, from Melissa Clark at The New York Times, is a favorite. It calls for ground lamb, white beans and poblanos, but I went with ground chicken thighs, pintos, and a mix of green bell peppers and Hatch chile.

And this morning is as you see.

Naturally there are onions, garlic, ground Hatch red chile, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano and other bits of this and that.

This version is not nearly as richly flavored as the original, and for that I blame the chicken thighs. Ground turkey thighs might have been a better substitute, but that would have meant a trip to Keller’s, where the vast meat counter encourages deficit spending.

Likewise, poblanos would have been preferable to the bell peppers, but roasting them in that wind might have brought the fire marshals.

Herself contributed some delicious cornbread and a green salad (not pictured) fortified with clementine segments to ward off scurvy.

Beans and cornbread don’t always fight. Sometimes they go hand in hand, like corned beef and cabbage.

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17 Responses to “Beans and cornbread”

  1. JD Dallager Says:

    PO’G: Looks scrumptious! I like the new banner too!!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, JD. There’s nothing like cornbread hot from the cast-iron skillet. And that banner even made me giggle. I’m usually not inclined to laugh at my own jokes, but I made an exception in this case.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        We like the banner too! And, I agree with JD. A well seasoned cast iron skillet produces all kinds of goodness, especially corn bread. Sandy’s grandmother made fried apple pies in a cast iron skillet that were good enough to make Larry move back to Iowa.

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    No oven in your kitchen to roast peppers, chiles or tomatoes? Grocery store chicken in the USA might as well be tofu, or in Khal’s case SHOULD be tofu…tastes like nothin’ either way.
    Over here the wife’s got a couple of soups going this afternoon – a white fish and fennel in one pot and white beans and escarole in another.
    Our lunch was fresh buffalo mozzarella, tiny tomatoes and basil and a chunk of crusty bread – cafone as they call it here. Our favorite baker’s round loaf reminds us of Pacman since there’s a piece missing that reminds us of Pacman’s mouth. They know me now, so I ask for a euro’s worth of “Pacman” and they hack off a big chunk and hand it over with a smile. The place is two doors down from Sorbillo’s pizzeria – the one blown up a few weeks ago by the mob.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I like to blacken my chiles outdoors on the gas grill. Our double oven is electric, and the atmosphere at El Rancho Pendejo can get a tad powerful when you char your chile indoors.

      One of these jobbers might be nice for charring chile over a gas burner on the range, where the overhead fan can take care of bidness.

      One of these days I need to ask the Kellers folks where they get their chickens. Nothing from Whole Amazon or Sprouts can compare.

      Sounds like you’ve gone full Eyetie over there. Probably won’t remember how to espeaka da English before much longer.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        How do you get cheese from a buffalo? Do you have to shoot them first, or do they give it up without a fight?

        • Dale Says:

          You creep up very slowly while draped in a sheepskin and check to see if the animal has balls. If it does, you should retreat quickly. If you attempt this a second time, you should have gone to Whole Paycheck.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Buffalo Cheese would be a good name for a band that covered Buffalo Springfield tunes using kazoo, ocarina and hurdy-gurdy.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        For us its yellow or red peppers or tomatoes. Chile over here is dried peperoncino rosso for the most part, either the whole thing you chop up yourself or the ubiquitous flakes.
        In Calabria they call ’em the poor man’s Viagra.
        As to (water) buffalo mozzarella, you simply haven’t lived until you’ve had a bite of the real thing. Of course by the time it hits the Whole Paychecks of the USA it’s not the freshest and it’s kind of expensive, but it still makes all the cow milk stuff taste like you’re biting a chunk out of a schoolkid’s pencil eraser.
        As to language, I’m trying, now and then I’ll say, “What’s the word for that in English again?”

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Sounds good. I think we would substitute black beans and fake meat.

  4. Carl Duellman Says:

    i love field peas and cornbread. my grandma used to make it every week when my cousin and i would stay with her during the summer. we could eat our weight in it. my grandpa always sliced his cornbread in half, cover it in butter then bury it in peas and pea juice until it was a soggy mess. that’s the way i eat it now. he did it that way because he had dentures so he liked his food easy to chew. i just like it that way and i’ve got most of my original teeth. does your cornbread have sugar in it?

  5. Dale Says:


    I see that you eat dry cornbread. Have you ever tried this wet cornbread.

    Wet Cornbread


    3 cups WHITE cornmeal (Indianhead, preferred brand–NO self-rising, just plain white cornmeal)
    3 cups boiling water
    1 stick salted butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    3 beaten eggs
    2 1/2 cups milk

    non-stick spray/dollop of oil (any kind)

    Utensils needed: One LARGE bowl, 9″ x 12″ tray, fork, spoon, 4 cup measuring bowl…

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

    This is how it goes. Into that BIG bowl, put the 3 cups of white cornmeal, 1 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (kosher), mix them around with a spoon. Plop the warming stick of salted butter in the center. Your water should be coming up to a boil—pour that over the mix.

    Stir well, incorporate it all until well mixed.

    Then add the beaten eggs…stir well until the cornmeal mixture ‘eats’ the eggs, keep stirring. Then add the milk, continue to stir, incorporate well. Then pour into the prepared pan, sprayed with non-stick and the dollop of oil. Then put the tray into the 400 degree oven for 45 minutes, this may take longer, but often not. Usually it can depend upon the humidity of the cornmeal at time of baking. You’ll know when it’s done…just to firm, don’t overcook this.

  6. Dale Says:

    You can eat it warm or cold, but it is best after being lightly fried in a pan that previously contained bacon, ham, or eggs.

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