Peaches and Tomatoes are in! You guys know what that means? It’s summer chili cobbler time!
I usually associate chili with pure fall/winter fare, but a recent craving for chili in the dead of summer had me dreaming of a summer version. The chili base is made with fresh tomatoes (vs canned) and a has few fresh peaches tossed in to really bring the summer game. And we all know it’s cobbler season…and it’s BAKED the blog, so chili cobbler is the answer!
I used a combination of San Marzano and Opalka tomatoes, both plum-shaped and considered to be “paste” tomatoes, ideal for cooking and canning. The flavour of these tomatoes is through the roof, but the texture is so-so for fresh eating. They’re thick-walled, and not as juicy as typical heirloom tomatoes, which is exactly what you want for making luxurious sauces.
The chili base is pretty minimal. As much as I love the complex and time-consuming winter version, extra chunky and loaded with spices and various chillies, this one is delicious in its own summery way, with focus on the fresh tomato and peach flavours.
The cobbler topping is a little more buttery than cornbread, lightly sweetened, and perfect for absorbing the delicious chili juices below.
Summer Chili Cornbread Cobbler
Print recipe here
2 lbs plum tomatoes (i.e. Roma, San Marzano, Opalka, etc..)
1/2 lb peaches (about 2-3 small peaches)
a few Tbsp. coconut oil, butter, or ghee to generously coat the skillet
1 medium cooking onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper powder
1 tsp. salt
1.5 cups cooked pinto beans (or 1 can, drained)
1 1/4 cup light spelt or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup kefir or buttermilk
2 Tbsp. honey
1/3 cup of butter, melted
cherry tomatoes, halved
thinly sliced chillis
[Optional but recommended step: Start by peeling the peaches and tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and score an “X” at the blossom end of each fruit with a sharp knife. Prepare a large pot of cold water. Drop the fruit in the boiling water and transfer to the bowl of cold water as soon as the skins start to peel (~30 seconds, maybe a little longer for the peaches). Peel off all the skins with your hands and discard. They should come right off, but you can use a knife if you need to.]
Trim the stem end and roughly chop the tomatoes. Pit the peaches and chop them as well. Set the tomatoes and peaches aside.
In a cast iron skillet (I used a 10.25″), melt the butter, oil, or ghee over medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic with a few pinches of salt, until translucent and starting to brown. Add the spices and saute for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes and peaches, lower heat, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.
While the chili is simmering, preheat the oven to 375°F and start preparing the cornbread topping.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk together the kefir/buttermilk, egg, and honey.
Add the wet ingredient mix to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour in the melted butter and whisk again until fully incorporated. Let sit for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, remove the lid from the simmering chile, slightly increase the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so, until slightly reduced. Taste for salt/heat and adjust if necessary.
Stir in the beans and cook for a few more minutes. If the chili is too watery, continue reducing until the desired consistency is reached, but note that cornbread topping will soak up some of the liquid. Alternatively, if it’s too dry, add a little bit of water, simmer, and taste/season before topping.
Remove from heat and spoon the cornbread batter on top. Distribute it evenly, but don’t worry too much about the gaps, the batter will spread to cover the surface of the skillet.
Bake for ~20 minutes, until the cornbread is cooked through and golden. Rest for 10 minutes before digging in. Garnish with cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and chillies.
– If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can cook the chili in your pot of choice and transfer it to a baking dish before topping it with the cornbread batter
– Store any leftovers refrigerated and reheat in the oven for best results. If cooking in the cast iron skillet, transfer to another container before storage, as the acidic base can corrode the skillet if left for a long time.
– Other summery ingredient ideas: zucchini, fresh poblano or sweet peppers, fresh beans (vs. dried/canned), fresh corn for garnish