Southern style slow cooker beef chilli with cornbread topping
- September 2021
- Serves 8-10
- Hands-on time: 20 min, simmer time: about 8¼ hours on low or 4¾ hours on high
Stick a batch of richly flavoured beef chilli in the slow cooker and this gloriously satisfying cornbread topped masterpiece can be yours at the end of the day.
Got a slow cooker at home? Make sure to check out the rest of our slow cooker recipes here.
- 15.1g (6.9g saturated),
- 48g (9.8g sugars)
- 4g fibre
- 2kg boneless British beef short rib, shin or cheek, cut into 6cm chunks
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 medium red onions, finely sliced
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with a knife
- 3 tbsp chipotle chilli paste (see Next Time)
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
- Small bunch coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves reserved to serve
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 250ml strong black coffee
- 2 tbsp polenta (or use masa harina if you can find it; optional if cooking in the oven)
For the cornbread topping
- For the cornbread topping
- 500ml buttermilk
- 225g polenta
- 160g plain flour
- 130g grated cheddar
- ½ bunch finely chopped coriander
- 1½ tbsp baking powder
You’ll also need
- Slow cooker or flameproof casserole
- Put the beef in a large bowl and toss with the salt, sugar, paprika, cumin, oregano and cinnamon until the meat is well coated in the spice mix (see Flavour Boost).
- Put the beef in the bowl of a slow cooker along with the rest of the chilli ingredients, except for the polenta. Give everything a good stir. Put the lid on and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 7-8 hours, until the meat is tender. Roughly shred the meat and add the 2 tbsp polenta, giving the pot a good stir.
- Meanwhile make the cornbread batter. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, polenta, plain flour, grated cheddar, coriander, baking powder and a large pinch of salt. Mix well, then set the batter aside to soak for 10 minutes. Dollop the dumpling mix on top of the chilli. Cover and cook for 45 minutes on high or 75 minutes on low.
- Serve the chilli with extra coriander, sour cream and lime accompanied with rice or beans, if you like.
Batch cook: Cool the chilli completely, then decant into lidded, freezerproof container(s). Leftovers will keep in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a pan on the hob until piping hot. Eat it up in one of our serving suggestions
Next time: Make your own chilli paste. Try a mix of 6-8 dried guajillo, ancho and chipotle chillies (you can find them online at coolchile.co.uk, ocado.co.uk, or souschef.co.uk and in some larger supermarkets or spice shops). Remove the stems and seeds from the chillies, lightly toast in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes each side over high heat, then cover in the hot coffee and set aside to soak for 1 hour. Whizz to a smooth paste and proceed with the recipe as stated.
Flavour boost: Liberally salt the meat on all sides a few hours before cooking the chilli to season the meat deeply. Also, browning the meat well on all sides before adding to the slow cooker will give more flavour to the final dish. Don’t forget to deglaze the pan too.
To make the chilli in the oven, after step 1, combine the (seared) spice-coated beef and the remaining ingredients in a large casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Cover with a damp circle of baking paper, tucking in the edges to trap the moisture, then bake in a 130ºC fan/gas 2 oven for 4½-5 hours, removing the lid for the last hour of cooking. Give the chilli a stir after 3 hours and top up with a bit more water if it’s looking a bit dry. The polenta helps to thicken up the sauce – you may not need it if cooking in the oven as the heat is drier than a slow cooker.
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