Firehouse Chili and Cornbread Casserole Recipe

"Everyone knows that firefighters make the best chili–many using a recipe very similar to this–and the only way I know how to make that chili even better is by topping it with a cheesy cornbread crust. The cornbread crust is relatively sweet, which of course pairs perfectly with that spicy, meaty, savory chili."


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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup diced poblano pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water, or as needed
  • 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • For the Cornbread Crust:
  • 2 (7.5 ounce) packages corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy®)
  • 1 cup grated white Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Garnish:
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
  • Directions

  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In
    1. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion, salt, and ground beef. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until meat is browned and crumbled into small pieces, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add poblano pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and oregano; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
    2. Stir in diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Measure water using the empty tomato cans and pour into the pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes before stirring in kidney beans. Continue simmering until bubbling and fragrant, about 30 minutes more. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
    3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    4. Place a deep 9×13-inch baking dish on a baking sheet. Transfer chili to the dish, being sure to leave at least 1 inch of space at the top. Stir to evenly distribute.
    5. Whisk corn muffin mix, 1/2 of the Cheddar cheese, eggs, and milk together in a bowl until smooth. Spoon evenly over chili until the surface is covered. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese.
    6. Bake in the preheated oven until cornbread crust is browned and a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
    7. Spoon or ladle into a dish and garnish with sour cream and cilantro.


    • Chef’s Notes:
    • Personally, I go for the 85:15 lean-to-fat ratio for ground beef, but even something a little leaner would work here.
    • You can use any green pepper you like. You can use fire-roasted diced tomatoes with or without diced green chiles.
    • This recipe may make more than what fits into your baking dish, so reserve any leftovers for another use.

    Nutrition Facts

    Per Serving: 523 calories;24.6 g fat;47.2 g carbohydrates;28.7 g protein;114 mg cholesterol;1529 mg sodium.Full nutrition
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