Chipotle Chili with Sweet Honey Cornbread
Sweet and oh, so smokey.
It's about time I had a chili recipe, right? Veggie burgers and chili are classic vegetarian food blog go-tos, but here I am with a couple burgers and no chili. Thankfully, I remedied the situation and can stay in the vegetarian food blog club. Woohoo.
This vegetarian chili is packed with veggies and loaded with protein. Spicy and smokey flavors provided by the fire roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika and chipotle powder build through a long simmer while the sweet potato adds some starchiness to cool things down. It's all topped off with a thick slab of sweet honey cornbread that pairs perfectly with the smoked spice. While the chili is good without the cornbread, it really shines with it.
Veggies before and after getting cooked and spiced
This recipe takes some time to make, but you will be rewarded with flavor. If you need to cut down on time, try these tips:
Cook the lentils seperately: Bring the lentils and vegetable broth to a boil then simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain and add to the the chili when there are 10 minutes remaining. Follow the chili recipe with 1 cup less vegetable broth and skip the first 20 minutes of cook time with the lentils and move right to the 30 minutes with the sweet potato. The flavor won't be as developed as if you cooked the lentils in the chili, but it will save about 20 minutes!
Prep the vegetables ahead of time: I made this recipe 4 times in the past few days trying to get it just right. How did I manage with a 3 month old? Veggie prep! When he napped, I chopped. It made it a lot easier to just throw the veggies in the pot when I was ready to start cooking.
Make the chili the day before: Make the chili one day then the next day, add it to a casserole dish, whip up the cornbread, spread it on top and bake! Added bonus: Chili is one of those foods that actually tastes better the day after it is made.
Chipotle Chili with Sweet Honey Cornbread
Spicy and smokey vegetarian chili packed with veggies and protein topped off with a thick slab of sweet honey cornbread
Serves: 6 - 8
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 2 carrots, diced (1/4th inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)
- 1 large sweet potato, diced (3/4 inch cubes, ~2.5 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (I use McCormick which is pretty mild)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 14 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 - 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large oven safe skillet* (at least 2 quarts, 3 - 4 recommended) or large pot over medium heat
- Once hot, add the onion, pepper, carrots and corn. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
- Cook, stirring often, for approximately 7 minutes until the vegetables start to soften
- Add the spices, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir until the vegetables are coated. Cook for approximately 1 - 2 minutes
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and veggie broth (4 cups of veggie broth if going to top with cornbread, 3 cups if not)
- Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the lentils, stir, and lower the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes
- After the 20 minutes, add the sweet potato and black beans
- Simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, taste and season - I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, sugars and baking powder
- In another bowl, add the milk, honey, eggs and butter. Wisk to combine
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined - don't over mix
- Carefully spread the batter on top of the chili. Bake until cooked though (35 - 40 minutes for a 10 inch, 2 quart skillet). I recommend placing a baking sheet under the skillet to catch the drippings. Cool for a few minutes before serving
- * I recommend a 10 - 12 inch high walled oven safe skillet. I used a 2 quart, 10 inch skillet and the liquids were very close to the top before reducing but it does all fit. You can also use a larger pot then transfer to the oven safe skillet when it is time to bake. A 10 inch skillet had a 35 minute bake time for me, a 12 inch would have a shorter bake time.
- NOTE: Spice Level: Everyone has a different ideal spice level. My husband and I consider it to have a medium spice level - spicy but not too spicy. If you are concerned, reduce the chipotle powder to 1/2 teaspoon