Chilli Con Carne with Cornbread

24th April 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

“This is adapted from a recipe in James McNair’s Favourites. If possible, make the chilli a day or two in advance as it improves if you let it sit for a while.”
Josh Adler, wine distributor, Paris


The cornbread recipe is adapted from Dupree and Graubart’s Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking (you can find it here). It requires a cornstick pan (click here).

Serves 8


1kg cubed stewing beef
Olive oil (enough to lightly brush the beef cubes)
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
1½ tbsp dried oregano
2 or 3 whole medium-hot chillies (ancho, guajillo, New Mexico, pasilla), deseeded and torn into small pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
3 small onions, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp ground cayenne
1½ tbsp paprika
2 400g tins of plum tomatoes
1 tsp chipotle chilli in adobo sauce
2 400g tins of black (turtle) beans
1 tbsp lime juice or red wine vinegar
A large handful of coriander, chopped, plus fresh leaves for garnish


5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (150g) white or yellow cornmeal
1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup (240g) buttermilk
2 large eggs


First, brown the beef. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over a medium-high heat. Brush the cubes lightly with olive oil and add them to the pot in small batches, turning each cube so that every side is browned evenly. Set aside.

In a small frying pan, toast the cumin, oregano and torn chillies over a medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring frequently for a couple of minutes or until fragrant. Allow to cool on a separate plate, then grind.

In the same pot used to brown the beef, heat the 3 tbsp oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned. Add the garlic, cayenne, paprika, and the ground chilli mixture, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the browned beef, the tomato and chipotle chilli and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Drain the beans and reserve the liquid. Stir the beans into the pot. Add enough reserved bean liquid to cover the beans barely, adding water if needed. Add salt to taste and simmer for 45-60 minutes.

Now make the cornbread. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/425F. Divide 2 tbsp of melted butter among the wells of a well-seasoned cast-iron cornstick pan and place it in the oven. It’s really important to get the pan and fat really hot in the oven before adding the batter, to ensure a crisp crust.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the buttermilk and eggs, then pour in the remaining melted butter. Fold into the dry ingredients without overmixing.

Remove the pan from the oven, pour the batter into each well, filling ¾ full, and bake in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden-brown. If necessary, run a knife around the edge of each cornstick to turn out. Serve warm. (If you’re making it ahead, turn out onto a rack to prevent the crusts from softening. Freeze for up to a month.)

Remove the chilli con carne from the heat and stir in the lime or vinegar and the coriander. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve hot with the cornbread.

LISTEN WHILE YOU COOK: Josh’s Americana mix

Posted 24th April 2015

In Recipes


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin