I wanted to make chili but change it up so that corn was a major ingredient. Silly me, I thought I was inventing a new dish but apparently 40,200,000 people on Google were ahead of me. Really, people!?!? Must you invent everything? Are there no new foods to create where someone has not been there ahead of me? Some day I will found a new dish. Mark my words.
So corn chili is not a new concept to anyone but me. It makes sense if you think about things like Arkansas Caviar where the corn fits into the flavor profile nicely with cumin and tomatoes. I just never thought to add corn along with the beans already in chili. And yes, we add beans to our chili here. Otherwise it’s just sloppy joe soup with spices.
I started with my usual recipe of chili. I had 2 pounds of ground beef thawed and wanted to see what I could do on a small-scale before making a larger batch for freezing. I usually have containers of chili frozen for a quick chili omelet or a cup of chili for lunch. I’ll even add a mountain of cheese to a cup of chili to make a quick queso to eat with chips. Chili will never go to waste in the castle! But my pot grew and it ended up being quite a large batch!
I diced about 1/2 cup of onion and sautéed it in a drizzle of oil in my soup pot. I salted it well. When the onion was translucent I added 1/4 cup roasted hatch chilies, some diced red sweet bell pepper, 2 diced jalapenos and I stirred well.
While I waited for the onion to become translucent I had browned the ground beef in a large skillet. I made sure it was nice and browned for that extra flavor.
To my soup pot I added some minced garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano. I added 28 ounces of diced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I decided I needed more tomatoes and added a second 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes.
Next I drained 3 cans of kidney beans and added them to the pot. They were called light kidney beans, due to their lighter color. They all taste the same to me, you could use whatever beans you like best.
I had 3 cups of corn I’d reserved from my how to freeze corn adventure and I added it to the pot. I stirred well and let the chili come to a boil. I reduced the heat to medium low and let the chili simmer for about an hour.
I taste tested the chili and it needed salt. I also added a tablespoon of red wine vinegar for a pop of acid. The corn had sweetened the chili quite a bit and the vinegar helped to bring it back to a less sweet chili. I kept adding and stirring until I was happy with the seasoning. Dinner was ready.
I garnished our bowls of corn chili with a good handful of shredded cheddar, a dollop of sour cream and some chopped green onions.
The chili was great! I liked the texture the corn gave the chili, with its slight crunch. Using my own garden corn was a good idea since it retained its firmness that almost popped in your mouth. The slight sweetness the corn brought to the chili was a good balance to the spiciness. I’m not sure I’d always want to add corn to my chili, but it would be a nice way to relieve the boredom occasionally!
A couple of days later we used some of the chili to make chili dogs. Another great reason to have chili handy! Amp up the fun when grilling hot dogs! You could also add cheese to the top of these chili dogs.
Sweetly Spicy Corn Chili
1/2 cup onion; diced
drizzle of oil
2# ground beef
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
28 + 15 ounces diced tomatoes
2 cups roasted cherry tomatoes (or changed diced tomatoes to 2- 28 ounce cans)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup roasted hatch chilies
1/2 cup red sweet bell pepper; diced (about 1 pepper)
2 jalapenos; finely diced (they were about 2″ long, seeds removed)
3 cans kidney beans; drained and rinsed (I used light kidney beans instead of the dark red ones)
3 cups frozen corn (cut from 4 cobs of corn)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar and sour cream to garnish
Heat a soup pot on medium high heat with a drizzle of oil. Add onions, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté until translucent.
In a separate skillet fry the ground beef until it is browned on one side. Break into smaller pieces and finish frying until it is browned. Add to the soup pot.
Add cumin, chili powder, oregano and garlic to soup pot. Add diced tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, tomato paste and hatch peppers. Stir well.
Drain and rinse kidney beans and add to pot. Add corn.
I usually add a teaspoon of sugar to my chili or spaghetti sauce to distract from the tinny taste canned tomatoes often have. Adding the corn is such a sweetener you wouldn’t want to add extra sugar here. Instead I added a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. You could use any vinegar, the red wine vinegar was in the front of my cupboard.
I let my chili come to a bubbling boil then reduced the heat to medium low and let it simmer for an hour. Occasionally I stirred it and taste tested it. I added salt twice.
Yield: About 8 servings