Braised Chili Beef with Cornbread Dumplings

“America, it has been observed, is not really a melting pot. It is actually a huge potluck dinner, in which platters of roasted chicken beckon beside casseroles of pasta, mounds of tortillas, stew pots of gumbo, and skillets filled with pilafs of every imaginable color.”
Author: Andrea Chesman
Braise Beef Chili and Cornbread Dumplings

Just in time for busy seasonal days and nights a pot luck dish to warm you up on a chilly night. I prepared this dish early in the day and made the “dumpling” batter just before baking for 15-20 minutes. Perfect for a day of completely messing up my house…while I don’t go completely nuts decorating, I make a mess and I started early this year! After spending a full day of shopping for stuff and especially Christmas wreath ribbon, I found that most of it doesn’t work and must be returned, but I have a volunteer for that return trip so I can continue making a holiday mess, but dinner will be ready amongst the ruins.

I can see this dish working for a crowd just make a great salad and maybe a Mexican style corn side dish…

Smoky Chili Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings for half the recipe..adapted from Donna Hay’s online link below: Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pounds beef brisket, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 medium yellow or Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
2 dried chipotle chillies, chopped or 1/2 of 1 canned chipotle with some of the can sauce
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 – 14 ounce can cherry tomatoes or 14 ounces roasted cherry tomatoes
1 small can Hatch mild green chilies
2 cups beef stock (the full amount of stock worked for me, but feel free to use 1/2)
Braised Chili Beef 1

Braised Chili Beef 1Cornbread and Coriander Dumplings reduce to half for my halved ingredient portions above.
1½ cups plain (all-purpose) flour (3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon baking powder (1+1/2 teaspoon)
1 cup instant polenta or cornmeal (1/2 cup)
1½ cups buttermilk (3/4 cup)
kosher or sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 cup grated vintage cheddar (1/2 cup)
½ cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves (1/4 cup)
1 long red chili, chopped (1 baby red sweet pepper)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper and cook, in batches, for 3 minutes each side or until browned. Set aside.Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the paprika and chipotle chillies and cook for 1 minute. Return the beef to the pan with the brown sugar, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, and stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 3–3½ hours or until tender.Preheat oven 400°F. Place the flour, baking powder, polenta, buttermilk, salt and pepper, cheese, coriander and chilli in a bowl and mix to combine. Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the beef and bake, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Serve with sour cream, if desired. Serves 8.

*Chipotle chillies are smoke-dried jalapeño peppers commonly used in Mexican cooking. Find them at spice shops and specialty grocery stores.