If you live in the Midwest, there is one thing you are talking about right now…the weather.  I don’t know why it surprises us every year because the same thing happens EVERY year.

Winter comes.  We all say to each other what a mild winter it has been so far.  We talk of how it feels like spring and how this is the best winter ever.  Next thing you know…WHAMMO!!  We get socked with bitter cold and snow.  (This is where I would say we jinxed ourselves if I believed in such things.)

The next thing that always happens is we start talking about the weather….again.  This time we talk about how brutally cold it is outside.  We talk about the slick roads, school closings and proper ways to bundle up.  We talk about how this winter sucks and we can’t wait for spring.  (I also talk to myself a lot about the same topics but that is part of cabin fever.)

I, personally, go into hibernation mode.  I walk around my house scavenging for food because I need to fatten up to keep warm.  I look for foods that are hot in temperature and spice just so I can warm up inside and out.  And after I eat, I find any excuse to jump into my warm bed with a book.  (I am assuming that the animals that hibernate have their own library system and read in their habitats.)

So yesterday, it was really cold and I couldn’t shake my chill…unless I made some chili.  (Now if you want to debate with me on the use of beans, my chili soup post will support my views.)

The best thing about this recipe is that everything was in the bowl….steaming hot chili AND crispy, savory cornbread on top!  (Take that Mother Nature!)

Cornbread Topped Chicken Chili*


(Served about 4 or 2 if you are hungry hibernating bears)

1 pound ground chicken

1.5 tsp paprika

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp thyme

2 tsp ancho chili powder

½ tsp cumin

1 medium white onion, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 large jalapeño, chopped (This was about 2 Tbsp)

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper (I went light on the cayenne at first because I know I can up the spice at the end with some hot sauce.)

1 pound roasted plum tomatoes, chopped up with juices.  (I used some that I had canned from the summer so I would suggest a 14 ounce can of fire roasted as a sub.)

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup corn

Salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste


Cornbread, cheddar cheese, sour cream mixed with green onions or spicy jalapeños.


This can be a slow cooker recipe or Dutch oven, your choice.  (I did it in the Crocker so instructions will go that route.)

In large skillet, add chicken and brown it.  Remove from pan and place it in slow cooker.

Swirl a bit of olive oil in pan and add onions and yellow pepper.  Cook until just tender and add garlic and spices.  Toast for about a minute and add to slow cooker.

Mix the herby vegetables with the meat and add tomatoes and broth.  Cook for about 4 hours on low.  Right before serving, add corn.  It should be nice and thick and not soupy.  Taste for seasoning.  My hubby said it was just spicy enough but I added a good dash of Tabasco so my nose would run!

Cornbread Topping


¾ cup cornmeal

¼ cup flour

1.5 tsp baking POWDER

¼ tsp salt

½ cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 Tablespoon bacon-butter (or whatever your fat of choice is)

½ cup of shredded cheddar (separated one half in the batter the other half will be used on top at the end)

1 Tbsp minced jalapeño (optional)


Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.  Add wet into dry and mix so it is just incorporated.  Don’t over mix.

Assembling Chili

Oven at 400.  In a large cast iron pan ( I think mine is 12 inches), scoop in the chili and spread it evenly.

Starting in the center of the pan, top with cornbread and leave about a 1-2 inch edge that isn’t covered.

Bake for 20 minutes until it is nice and brown around the edges.  Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of cheese and cook another few minutes until the cheese is melty.

I topped mine with some Cowboy Candy (candied jalapeños) but you can top yours with any of your favorite chili toppings like sour cream, chopped jalapeños, or cheddar cheese.

All in all, I would describe this meal as a perfect winter dinner (or even something you may want to serve at your Superbowl party.)  Thank you Mother Nature for giving me an excuse to play in my kitchen but I would appreciate an early spring!!!

*I kept seeing pics of in magazines of chilis topped with bread. I used an Emeril recipe as a guideline on how to do the chili successfully with cornbread topping.  And Emeril’s cornbread recipe was used with a couple of add-ins.  It has already been published online so I am assuming it is okay to use it on my post.  (Thanks Emeril!)