Chipotle Chili with Honey Cheddar Cornbread

An extra simple, extra flavorful chipotle chili with a side of honey cheddar cornbread. It’s full of warm spices, caramelized onions, lots of peppers, and kidney beans. Includes minimal ingredients, yet packs in a nice kick from the chipotle peppers & adobo sauce. Topped with all the usual suspects, this chili is the perfect thing to cozy up with!

Chipotle Chili

Chipotle Chili

In our family, we always associate chili with Halloween. My younger twin brothers’ birthday falls on Halloween, and our tradition would always be to have a big family dinner of chili and cornbread. As everyone got older, we all started doing different things for the holiday, but we’ll still occasionally have a year where we eat our chili dinner together and it’s truly the best.

Last year I created this pumpkin chorizo chili with yogurt and herbs. It’s a little unique, and definitely not traditional. And while it is SO good, this year I was craving just a really simple chili. With the right ingredients to give it plenty of flavor, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

The chili we make as a family comes from my grandma and is very classic. So this recipe was inspired by that…just a good bowl of classic comfort food.

Chipotle Chili

Chipotle Chili

chipotle chili – the details

You’ll start by browning off some ground beef. The recipe would work with ground turkey or chicken as well, but I love the richness of the beef for a classic chili taste.

I’d say this recipe has 2 key components – one being the caramelized onions and peppers. I find that what made this so good was cooking the onions and red peppers until caramelized extremely well. I kept my stove heat at medium-high the entire time as they cooked, which is very high for caramelizing. However, I wanted more of a quick, charred effect versus a low and slow cook. Just make sure to stir them often so no spot gets burnt.

From there, you’ll stir in some spices. I kept things simple with three warming spices – chili powder, ground cumin, and a hint of cloves (the second key – it makes for an extra cozy chili for this time of year).

Chipotle Chili

Some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (right from the can), crushed tomatoes, and beef stock go in next. The chili gets simmered for about an hour until thickened. At the very end you’ll stir in the kidney beans to heat through. And that is IT. Truly all you need for an extremely flavorful pot of chili. The chipotle peppers do a lot of the work and add such a bold, spicy kick to the dish.

And of course…chili would be nearly as good without lots of toppings. I like a dollop of sour cream, lots of cheddar cheese, a little cilantro, and a palmful of sliced scallions. But really, use whatever toppings you’d like!

And the final touch: a side of warm honey cheddar cornbread. Just the perfect cold-weather meal all around!

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Chipotle Chili with Honey Cheddar Cornbread

Chipotle Chili

a deeply flavored, simple chipotle chili full of spices and caramelized peppers, served with honey cheddar cornbread on the side

servings: 4-6

Ingredients

Scale

Chipotle Chili

  • olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • kosher salt
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 small red bell peppers, stemmed + cored + thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 (11 oz) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 qt beef stock
  • 2 (15.5 oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed + drained 
  • toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, scallions 

Honey Cheddar Cornbread

  • 1 cup medium-ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ lb shredded cheddar cheese 
  • softened salted butter, for serving 

Instructions

Chipotle Chili

  1. Heat a large (7.25qt) dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Break the ground beef into pieces and add it to the hot oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes until browned on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a plate and set aside. 
  2. Add the onions to the pot. Saute for about 6 minutes. Add the red peppers. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes longer, stirring often, until deeply caramelized. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and cloves. Cook for another 30 seconds or so. 
  3. Roughly chop 2-3 of the chipotle peppers (depending on your heat preference) from the can. Add them to the pot, along with all of the adobo sauce. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and beef stock. Add the browned ground beef back to the pot. 
  4. Bring the chili to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the kidney beans to heat through. Taste the chili and season with salt as needed. 
  5. Ladle the chili into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream, a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese, a few cilantro leaves, and sliced scallions. Serve with warm honey cheddar cornbread (recipe below) on the side. 

Honey Cheddar Cornbread

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish and line with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Crack the eggs into another mixing bowl. Beat well. Whisk in the honey and milk. 
  3. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon to combine until just incorporated. Fold in the melted butter and cheddar cheese. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. 
  4. Cut the cornbread into squares and serve warm, with softened salted butter slathered over top.

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Chipotle Chili

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