A hearty casserole with a chili cheese layer, topped with even more cheese, and then a fluffy (and cheesy!) cornbread crust.
For the chili layer:
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (like vegetable oil or canola oil)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (see note 1)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 can black beans, undrained
- one 10 ounce can diced tomatoes and chiles, drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cups shredded cheese (any type; cheddar, pepper jack, and Colby are good options)
- 12 slices cheese (any type)
For the cornbread layer:
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (see note 2)
- 1/3 cup neutral oil (vegetable, canola, etc.)
- 1 cup shredded cheese (any type)
Optional topping ideas:
- sliced green onion
- sliced fresh or pickled jalapeño
- sour cream
- chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. While the oil is heating up, dice the onion. Add the onion to the hot pot and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about three minutes.
- Add the ground beef, salt, cumin and chili powder. Use a wooden spoon to break the beef into small pieces and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally, about five to six minutes.
- Once the beef is browned, add in the undrained black beans, frozen corn, and drained diced tomatoes and chiles. Stir to combine and let simmer while prepping the cornbread, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder and baking soda to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk and oil, whisk until no lumps remain. Stir in the 1 cup shredded cheese. Set aside.
- Check the consistency of the chili; it should be moist but without a lot of excess liquid. If needed, let simmer for another few minutes to allow the excess liquid to evaporate. Then, taste the chili and add more seasoning if needed.
- Turn off the stovetop, then stir the 2 cups shredded cheese into the chili. Spoon the chili into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or casserole dish. Distribute the 12 slices of cheese over the top so the entire surface is covered. Spoon the cornbread batter over the top and spread out as evenly as possible.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the top is firm and nicely browned, and a toothpick inserted into the cornbread layer comes out clean. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice (optional).
- To avoid making your chili too greasy, I advise using lean beef (I used 90% lean, 10% fat ground beef). You can also use a higher fat ground beef and spoon off the excess grease after you brown the meat if need be.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, pour 4 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, and fill to the 1 1/4 cup mark with milk. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.
- After the casserole is baked, you can store it in the fridge to serve later. Once it comes out of the oven, let it cool down on the counter for 10 – 15 minutes, then cover and place in the fridge for up to 2 days. To serve, place in a 350 degree oven, covered with aluminum foil, for 25 – 30 minutes, or until heated through.
- The casserole also freezes well for 2 – 3 months. Portion into individual serving sizes and freeze in airtight containers, then reheat in the microwave or oven until heated through.
Keywords: chili casserole, cheesy chili casserole, cornbread casserole, cheesy chili cornbread casserole, chili cornbread casserole