Monday, October 3, 2011

Black Bean Chili Casserole with a Corn Bread Crust

      Fall has come to the Valley of the Sun. That means the temperature has reached the mid-seventies during the day and (dare I say) sweaters are being pulled out of dust covered boxes. After a brutal desert summer, I can finally emerge from the safety of my air-conditioned apartment to enjoy outdoor activities like walking to the car and taking out the trash.
      All it took was one night of chilly weather to usher in Chili season. The cornbread crust in this recipe turns this classic stew into a hearty casserole perfect for sharing. As always, this version can be made with or without the cheese for a vegan friendly option.

Yellow Corn Meal
Here's what you gotta have...

Chili Filling:
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1/2 of a medium yellow onion diced
3/4 cup of vegetarian "ground beef" crumbles (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1 heaping tsp of chili powder
14.5 oz can black beans
1/2 tsp of oregano
generous pinch of salt
8 oz can of tomato sauce
14.5 oz of diced tomatoes
8 oz can of corn (drained)

Corn Bread Crust: 
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup ground corn meal
1/2 tsp of baking powder
8 oz can of creamed corn
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 green bell pepper finely diced
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese (optional)
                                                                           2 tbsp grated Asiago cheese or Parmesan. (optional)

Here's whatcha gotta do:

** Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. In a large skillet warm oil over a medium/high  heat. Add garlic saute for 1 minute then add onions. saute until onions are golden and wilted.
2. Add "beef " crumbles, cumin, chili powder. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Add black beans oregano, salt, sauce, tomatoes, and corn. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.
4. While chili is cooking mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Once evenly mixed, add cheese.
5. In a small bowl combine cream corn, soy milk, bell pepper and mix.
6. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones in the lager bowl, then set aside the corn bread mixture.
7. Spread chili into the bottom of a 2.5 quart casserole dish.
8. Gently spoon the corn bread mix on top of the chili and spread to cover the chili.
9. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

                                  "Life is Delicious...Go Taste it!"