Update a Family Favourite

My lovely, darling daughter was home from uni for the weekend. I think her primary reason was to get me to pay for her homemade die job to be professionally fixed at the hairdressers, but also to get some decent food. For once she didn’t bring a pile of dirty laundry!

After a big dose of student food, I wanted to treat her to a few nice dinners. Like most teens, she’s eats a lot of pasta, rice and noodles and I wanted to give her a break from mince (ground beef for my US readers) which she is heartily sick of.We all love Mexican food. I’ve got my Guacamole to the way I like it, my Salsa the way I like it and my Minced Chilli Beef is bang on, if I say so myself. Knowing that little miss was coming for a visit, I flicked through my pages of recipes to find something that would appeal and a new Mexican recipe fit the bill.

To be truthfully honest, I actually prefer my own Chilli recipe but this isn’t bad. I swapped out the mince for some chunks of good stewing beef to give it a slightly more grown up flavour and I added Cocoa Powder to it some extra richness and add to the authentic south american flavour. However, what I was really interested in was the Cornbread Dumplings that cook on the top and they were scrummy.

So if you fancy jazzing up an everyday Beef or Veg Chilli, just use the Dumpling Recipe and cook them as per the recipe below.

Chilli and Dumplings

Rating: 3 for the Chilli, 4 for the Dumplings

Categories:                      Family dinner

Cuisine:                            Mexican

Difficulty:                         Very simple, great to make with kids

Time To Table:                1 hr-1 hr10

Serves:                              6

Calories:                           516 cals

CREDIT: Good Housekeeping Magazine (from way back)



1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

750g lean beef mince (I used chunks of beef – takes a lot longer to cook though)

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed

large handful fresh coriander (optional), chopped roughly


100g Coarse cornmeal or Polenta

100g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g sour cream

1 large egg


Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan) or Gas 4.

Heat the oil in a large casserole or pan over a medium heat and add the onion, pepper and chilli until they start to soften – about 5 mins.

Turn up the heat and add the mince and fry, stirring frequently until the mince is browned and any liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the tomato purée, paprika, tomatoes and beans and plenty of seasoning. Bring to the boil and check the seasoning.

MY ADDITIONS: I add 2 tsp of Ground Cumin, 1 tsp of Oregano and 2 Bayleafs, 1 tblsp Cocoa Powder

Because I used chunks of beef, I slow-cooked this for about 2 hours.

You could also add some extra squares of dark chocolate to intensify the flavour.


Now the Dumplings

In a medium bowl, mix the Polenta/Cornmeal with flour and soda.

MY ADDITIONS: 1/2 tsp of Paprika, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, pepper (go easy on the salt as the Soda is salty)

Quickly mix in the sour cream and egg until just combined – don’t over mix.

Drop largish tablespoons of batter on the chilli mix.

Cook in the oven for 20 mins.

Garnish with Coriander, if desired.

Downloadable Recipe: 5-Chilli and Dumplings



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