Although it rarely happens nowadays, I love getting into the great outdoors. Nothing is more satisfying than coming back to a big camp fire after a long day of hiking and making a hearty meal. Last weekend a few friends and I went camping in Yosemite and we went a little overboard with the food, spending more time cooking and eating than doing anything else. I made this dutch oven chili and cornbread and it was a hit! The spicy and smokey chili soaks into the bottom of the sweet cornbread. Everything goes into one big pot and the only item that needs to be kept on ice is the beef and egg and milk for the cornbread. I used an 8-quart dutch oven for this meal, but if you have a smaller one, you can just cut down the ingredients. The whole point of this dish is for it to be easy. Also, I recommend seeking out chipotle powder if you can. It gives the chili a smokey flavor and a kick of heat!
This is the only time you’ll ever see me condoning the use of boxed cornbread. But really, Jiffy boxed cornbread makes for pretty amazing camp grub.
Start by heating the coals and make a layer of hot coals in the pit. You’ll need a lot of hot coals for this because you want your pot to be very hot to sear the beef. Reserve about 20-25 hot coals on the side for the top of the dutch oven later.
Cook the ground beef until browned, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Add the bell peppers, onions and garlic and cook until the vegetables are softened. Then, add the chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. The chipotle powder is spicy so if you don’t like heat, omit the chipotle powder.
Add the can of beer (or water) and beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the chili starts to simmer again. Season the chili with salt and black pepper to taste.
While the chili is simmering, make the cornbread in a bowl according to the package instructions. I used two packages of Jiffy cornbread mix here but you could use one. Even though it may not look like a lot of cornbread, the cornbread expands a lot so a little goes a long way. I wanted to have a thick layer of cornbread so I made more, but you could use less. Ladle the cornbread batter over the chili.
Close the lid and place about 20 hot coals on top of the lid.
After about 10 minutes check on to see if the cornbread is done by sticking a skewer through the batter. If it comes out clean, the chili is ready.
Remove the pot from the hot coals and serve by scooping a large spoonful of cornbread and chili into a bowl.
This recipe will serve enough for 8 to 10 very hungry campers!
CAMP CHILI & CORNBREAD
- 3 pounds of ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 6-oz tomato paste
- 1 16-oz can of kidney beans or black beans
- 5 tablespoons of chili powder
- 2 tablespoons of ground chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1 can of beer (or water)
- 2 8.5-oz boxes of Jiffy cornbread (or any other corn bread mix you like)
- (eggs and milk for the Jiffy cornbread mix)
- Salt and black pepper
- Make a layer of hot coals on the ground.
- Place the dutch oven over the coals and allow the dutch oven to get hot.
- Cook the ground beef until it starts to brown, breaking up the meat with a spatula.
- Add the onions, garlic, and bell pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables are softened
- Add the chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
- Add the can of beer and beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Make the cornbread mix in a bowl and pour over the top of the chili.
- Place the lid on top of the dutch oven and place about 20 hot coals over the top of the lid.
- Cook for about 10 minutes and check to see if the cornbread is done cooking by lifting the lid and poking a skewer through the cornbread. If it comes out clean the chili is done.
(images by HonestlyYUM)