I saw an idea on a blog for cornmeal waffles covered in chili, topped with shredded, melting cheese. I gasped. I gasped because I was hungry, but also because I’d never thought to use cornmeal in waffles. I could easily imagine chili-soaked bites of crispy waffles with cheese. I could imagine them for breakfast OR dinner!
My P.S. is in the habit of making a pan of cornbread (using my recipe in my computer cookbook) which he cuts into squares, splits open, and pours reheated leftover chili over the squares. Sprinkle with cheese and devour! But as I read the blog further they described the waffles having a crisp exterior, I was hooked. I needed to try these.
I pulled a couple of pound packages of extra lean ground beef out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge and waited patiently for 3 days. Father’s day cooking and dining out over the weekend delayed my newfound recipe from being made immediately.
Monday morning I bounced (read: staggered) out of bed and went down to the kitchen. I would make the chili early and let it simmer for a few hours til dinner. I browned the packages of ground beef well on one side, then broke it up into smaller pieces and finished frying the meat.
I added onions and red peppers to the skillet then decided to add another yellow pepper as well. I had a lot of peppers heading for old age in my fridge and we like the almost sweet punch they give to chili.
Meat, onions and peppers fried, I emptied the skillet into a small soup pot. I added 2 large cans of diced tomatoes and another 15 ounce can of tomatoes diced with chilies.
I added chili powder, minced garlic, Mexican oregano and cumin. I’m going to guess on the amounts in the recipe below because I don’t measure, I just sprinkle and pour and taste and sprinkle more until the chili tastes like I want it to. Disclaimer: chili is one of the foods where I never use a recipe. I wrote down the amounts as I threw them in this time. If you have a favorite recipe, use it here on the waffles. I did use a recipe for those!
I opened, drained and rinsed 3 cans of kidney beans and added them to the chili pot. I had about ½ cup of black beans and ½ cup of corn left from another recipe and pulled them out of the fridge. I added them to the pot as well.
I let my chili come to a boiling bubble and decided to add a 15 ounce can worth of water, since it was a bit thick. At this rate I wasn’t going to have much juice to run all over those golden waffles! I turned the heat to low and it just barely bubbled for about an hour. The cumin chili aroma filled the house and I loved it. I think Glade should make a cumin air scent. Maybe that’s just me.
My P.S. (Pancake and waffle Specialist/hubby) was home by the time I was ready to start waffling on the matter. Heh Ok, one lame joke was all I got. I promise. I had him reach down the Belgian waffle iron from the topmost shelf. I have to admit, I’ve only made waffles once, for my 5-year-old who is now 33. But I’ve gotten adept with Panini-ing so I was confident this would be easy.
And it was! I had found the idea for waffles and chili on one blog, but decided I didn’t like the waffle recipe. I found one I liked better on the King Arthur site because it included buttermilk. I insist on buttermilk in pancakes and banana bread, and having it in waffles sounded like a given for me.
I mixed the dry ingredients, then beat the wet ingredients with a mixer. I drizzled the melted butter into the wet mixture as I beat it so that it didn’t lump up or scramble my eggs. Then I carefully folded the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just enough to mix. I let the batter set for 10 minutes, as directed, as my waffle iron heated.
My P.S. said I should have sprayed oil on the iron before heating, but I thought it would burn and smoke as it waited for the batter to set. I sprayed both sides right before pouring the batter. I got the PHE (patented husband eyeroll) but my way worked fine. I poured the 1/3 cup into the middle of the waffle iron and immediately saw that it was not enough. I closed the griddle and made it anyway, just to prove King Arthur wrong.
The waffle was amazingly crispy and light, if that is possible. It was very small, and I obviously needed more batter if I wanted a waffle the size of the iron. My iron is 8”, and the recipe said it makes 6 8” waffles. Not at 1/3 cup measurements, it won’t! It would have made about 20 of those small suckers! I used a bigger amount, about ½-3/4 cup or more, and made 6 more waffles. I apologize for not measuring my globs of batter!
We ate the first two waffles covered with large scoops of chili and shredded cheese on top. The waffles were excellent, both crispy and melt in your mouth lightness. The flavor was very similar to my own cornbread recipe, just slightly sweet. I ignored the recipe suggestions to add peppers, chives or spices to the batter. I might consider that another time but this time we had chili flavors to meld with the waffles.
After we’d finished I made the rest of the batter into waffles, let them cool, then layered them between pieces of waxed paper into a zippered storage bag and froze them. They’d be handy another time with some thawed leftover chili. Quick breakfast, lunch or dinner, I was thinking. I eat chili omelets for breakfast, why not a chili waffle?
Cornmeal Waffles and Chili (see below for chili recipe)
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cup buttermilk
5 tablespoons butter; melted
Shredded cheese of choice; I used Colby Jack
Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl.
Beat eggs and buttermilk in a separate bowl until mixed, then continue beating while drizzling in melted butter.
Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients gently, stirring just to mix. There will be small lumps.
Let batter sit for 10 minutes
Heat waffle iron. Spray with cooking oil.
Pour appropriate amount of batter to fill your waffle iron to your desired size. Let cook until crispy on the outside.
Keep waffles in a low heated oven while making rest if necessary.
Cover waffle with hot chili and a sprinkling of cheese of choice.
Extra waffles can be frozen for several months.
2 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion; diced
1 red sweet bell pepper; diced
1 yellow sweet bell pepper; diced
2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilies
2 cups of water (I used my 15 ounce can and filled it with water)
3 cans kidney beans; drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano + large pinch cayenne)
Extras: I added ½ cup black beans and ½ cup corn to use leftovers; add if desired
Salt and pepper to taste (I had to add salt 3 times, the beans tend to suck up salt
Jalapenos, peppers, or hot sauce to taste
Fry beef in a large skillet drizzled with oil until brown and caramelized on one side. Break up into small pieces and add onions and peppers. Saute until onions are translucent.
Empty contents of skillet into a soup pot. Add tomatoes, water, beans and seasonings. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning on the bottom. Add water if you prefer it less thick.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning, adding more to taste. You may want to add more heat for spicyness.
Serve hot over cornmeal waffles, topped with shredded cheese.
Yield: approx 2 Ziploc storage rectangles (72 ounces each)