Sarina likes what I cook at home, but sometimes she wishes I'd make more comfort food. I'm admittedly an oddball; comfort food for me ranges from Waffle House hash browns (scattered, smothered, and covered please) to idli with sambar and everything in between. But I know what she means, and it seems only fair to try and hook her up sometimes.
I figured anything with a biscuit or dumpling top is a guaranteed winner, so I made some simple cornbread batter and dropped it on a casserole dish full of beans, onions and veggie sausage. It is pretty darn rare that I make anything that involves so much canned food, but this came out tasty. I served it with grated cheddar, Louisiana hot sauce, and a quick salad of diced cucumbers and radishes with dill, parsley and mint and a lime dressing.
The cornbread was based on this Emeril recipe, adjusted to what I had on hand. Heck, if I'm busting out the canned food, might as well make with the Food Network stars too, right?
Veggie Chili with Cornbread Dumplings
Serves 4 as a main course
Vegetarian, not vegan or gluten-free but could be adjusted
- 1 white onion, medium diced
- 2 small cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes, preferably Muir Glen fire-roasted (nice smoky flavor)
- 2 links Field Roast Mexican Chipotle vegetarian sausage (kinda spicy), or 8 oz. other veggie meat of your choice, cut into bite size chunks
- 2 T. olive oil
- optional: tabasco, chili flakes, chili powder, ground ancho chilis, green chilis, whatever heat you like
- grated cheddar for serving
- 3/4 c. cornmeal (I used de la Estancia polenta, which has a wonderful fresh-corn flavor)
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 c. yogurt
- 1/4 c. whole milk
- 1 egg
- 2 T. vegetable oil
- Preheat the onion to 400 degrees.
- Put the onions, pinto beans, tomatoes, veggie sausage and olive oil in a casserole. Season with salt and add optional heat to your taste. Cover and put in oven to start heating while you make the dumplings.
- Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl. Beat the yogurt, milk, egg, and vegetable oil in another. Quickly mix the wet and dry ingredients without overbeating.
- Remove the casserole from the oven, remove the lid, and drop the dumpling dough on in chunks a bit smaller than a golf ball, leaving spaces between them. (See picture above)
- Bake about 20 minutes or so (uncovered) until the beans are hot and the dumplings are golden brown and baked through. Check them with a toothpick if you aren't sure.
- Serve it up with grated cheddar and hot sauce on the side.