Chili & Corn Cakes

A Traditional American Dish

Chili & Corn Cakes

Almost everyone has a favorite chili recipe, and so do we!

Chili con carne is a quick, easy and authentic Southwestern beef stew with chili peppers pairing especially well with any type of cornmeal based bread, such as Fritos original corn chips, corn bread muffins, or in our case, old fashioned Deep South corn meal ‘hoecakes.’

As both chili peppers and corn were native to North America, they became the foundation for many food staples for hundreds, if not thousands, of years before the arrival of the first Europeans explorers. And, for good reason.

Chili was tasty and could be dehydrated into ‘blocks’ that lasted indefinitely. Maize was used in many ways, cornbread being one of the favorites. Because corn meal recipes are highly flexible and foregiving, and the resulting cornbread is quite filling, the popularity of corn meal has continued unabated.

Our variation on chili opts out of the pinto or kidney beans to avoid phytates and we do not add any sugars, directly or indirectly. We do prefer tomatoes, and we occasionally re-hydrate and toast assorted dried chili peppers for more authenticity. Of course, there is always canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. Most of the time, we simply rely on chili powder and dried ground chili peppers with Mexene chili powder being our favorite.

Chili Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. Mexene chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground chipotle peppers
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 8 Tbsp. natural fat, like olive oil, butter, duck fat, bacon fat
  • 4 lbs. beef stew meat, 1-2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions coarsely chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno  chilis finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed or diced fired-roasted tomatoes
  • 6 cups beef or chicken bone broth
  • 3 tbsp. fine ground corn meal, white or yellow


  • 1 lb. each of shredded yellow and white extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 avocados chopped in lime juice
  • 4-6 limes quartered
  • 4-6 Tasty Lee extra ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1 large purple onion finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
  • A variety of salsa from mild to hot

Corn Cakes (Hoecakes)

  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk or coconut buttermilk [See Method]
  • 2 cups fine ground white cornmeal
  • 4 tsp. baking powder, non-aluminum
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, bacon fat or olive oil

The Method

The Chili

  1. In a small bowl combine the chili powder, cumin, ground chipotle pepper, sea salt, oregano, onion and garlic powder and set aside,
  2. In a 12 quart stock pot over medium high heat bring 4 tablespoons of fat to almost smoking.
  3. Add the stew meat and stir fry until the liquid evaporates entirely – 10-15 minutes. (You can pour off some of the liquid if you are in a hurry.)
  4. Add 4 more tablespoons of fat and continue heat on medium high stirring in the onions and bell peppers and cook until softened – 5-7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño peppers and soften for 1 minute.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly into the meat and vegetables and infuse the spices for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.
  7. Pour in the broth and deglaze the pot.
  8. Add the tomatoes and stir the mixture together and bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 2 hours stirring every 15-20 minutes.
  10. Remove the lid and continue simmering for 30 minutes to reduce the chili.
  11. While the chili is reducing, thicken the chili by drawing off a small bowl of the jus and stir in the cornmeal and return to the pot.

Top the chili with tomatoes, red onions, avocados, shredded cheese, and salsa. On the occasional ‘blow out’ dinner, a bed of Fritos corn chips make a crispy foundation for the chili and toppings.

The Corn Cakes

  1. Combine the coconut milk and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice in  a small bowl or 2 cup pyrex measuring cup and set aside to work for about 15-30 minutes. This makes coconut ‘buttermilk’ for those who would rather avoid dairy.
  2. Thoroughly combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients including the coconut buttermilk to the dry ingredients and hand-mix until smooth.
  4. Using a spoon or measuring cup (depending on the size cake desired) fry the batter as you would small pancakes on a very hot electric griddle or case iron skillet at medium high heat liberally greased with any type of natural fat and cook until golden brown on each side.

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