Slow-cooker cornbread chili

Recipe and photo by Melissa Skorpil • Staff Photojournalist

Transcribed by Era Sundar • Audio Editor

The holiday season and cooler weather not only call for wardrobe changes but menu updates as well. Nothing says warm and cozy like a savory bowl of chili.

This easy-to-prepare classic is a versatile crowd pleaser. It’s low in fat and vegetarian, yet hearty and satisfying enough for meat lovers. Two types of beans provide plenty of protein and fresh vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Cheddar cheese and cornbread add a touch of rich indulgence.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 onion

• 1 green pepper

• 1 packet of chili seasoning

• 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes

• 1 can (14.5 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

• 1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

• 8 oz. package corn bread mix

• 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (for more flavor use a sharp rather than mild cheddar)

• 1 tablespoon oil

• Serves 6 people with a prep time of about 5 hours using a slow cooker.

Here’s how to make it:

1. Using a sharp knife, dice the onion and green pepper into 1/4 inch pieces then saute them in 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat for 10 minutes until the green peppers glisten and the onions become translucent.

2. While the onions and peppers are being sauted, dice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces and keep aside.

3. When the onion and pepper mixture is finished, it will be tender and aromatic. At this point, place it into the slow cooker and add the chili seasoning, diced tomatoes, and beans. Mix well. No additional cooking liquid is needed. The diced tomatoes provide all the moisture necessary.

4. Cover and simmer for 4 hours on low heat setting.

5. Prepare the cornbread batter according to the directions on the package.

6. Drop spoonfuls of cornbread batter on top of the chili mixture in the slow cooker and gently spread the batter so it covers the chili evenly.

7. Replace the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 30 – 45 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cornbread topping comes out clean.

8. Sprinkle the cornbread topping with shredded cheddar cheese, cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes longer until the cheese melts.