I made this chili pie in support of the Rangers’ first ever World Series appearance and so far it is working! (We’re winning game one of the series as I type.) The idea for this recipe came from the concession food I liked to eat at Rangers games when I was a kid: frito pie! This healthier, non-processed version combines a spicy chili with hearty jalapeno cheddar corn bread. Pure Texan comfort food!
If tomatoes and fresh beans were in season, I probably would have added them to the chili. However, this version will satisfy the most picky Texas Chili enthusiasts since it has neither. In celebration of Austin Beer Week, I used a whole bottle of Independence Brewing Company’s Austin Amber Ale in the chili, plus a half cup in the cornbread topper. The cornbread also features roasted corn and jalapeno peppers plus local cheddar cheese for added flavor and texture. You could skip those ingredients in a pinch, but the pie wouldn’t be nearly as rich and tasty! I adapted the cornbread recipe from The Beer Wench‘s “Some Like it Hot” cornbread. If you’re interested in gourmet brew, check out her website, it’s very cool.
One last thing: both the chili and the cornbread work as stand-alone recipes. However, I think the presentation of the pie is really special. Just like game day food should be! I hope you enjoy this easy and tasty Texas Chili Pie as much as we did, and let’s go Rangers!!
Texas Chili Pie (serves 6)
1 lb. ground venison, beef, or turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bottle Austin Amber Ale
2 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 ear sweet corn
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (n.b. I tried this with whole wheat and it wasn’t good)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Austin Amber Ale
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
In a heavy bottomed pan, brown meat over medium heat, adding a little oil if it’s very lean, stirring occasionally. While meat is browning, chop onions, garlic, peppers, and cilantro and add to pan. Stir the meat mixture and break up any large clumps of meat. Once onions are translucent and meat is broken up, pour in the beer and stir. Add paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt. Allow chili to stew, uncovered, for about half an hour while you prepare the cornbread topping.
For the cornbread: First, cut corn off the cob and mince jalapeno pepper. Roast corn and pepper in a skillet over high heat with a little olive oil until some kernels of corn are brown. Set aside to cool. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, beer, and egg and stir until just combined. (Lumps are okay.) Finally, fold in shredded cheese, corn, and peppers. Set aside and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Back to the chili: stir in cornmeal one tablespoon at a time until chili thickens to desired consistency. After two tablespoons of cornmeal, mine was as thick as juicy taco meat, just how I like it! Remove chili from heat and carefully pour it into a 1.5 quart casserole dish. Gently pour cornbread batter on top of the chili. Using potholders, put the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, until cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Garnish chili pie with fresh sliced jalapenos, diced onions, sour cream and cilantro. Cheer for the Rangers!!