Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Souffléd Cornbread-Mole Chili Casserole with a Pimento Cheese Surprise

Souffléd Cornbread-Mole Chili Casserole with a Pimento Cheese Surprise
It's casserole season y'all. Did you know? Of course. But, breaking news, I'm not a fan of casseroles. Just never have been, and I don't know if I ever will. Don't get me wrong though, the occasional baked dish will hit the spot. A family favorite of ours was always chili-cornbread casserole. I made my rich, mole chili for the bottom layer, and then I topped it with a layer of homemade pimento cheese and a souffléd cornbread topping. What's special about this cornbread you ask... Well, it's gently folded, so that when it is baked it is light & fluffy (instead of dense and grainy). This would be a great meal to feed the family on a week day or something to make at a tailgate party. Just sit back and relax with this meal on a cold, winter day and trust me you'll be happy!! Enjoy :)

For the Mole Chili Filling:
2T Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1T Garlic, Chopped
1lb Ground Beef Chunk (80/20)
2-28oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
1C Water
1 4oz Can of Chopped Green Chiles
2 Jalapenos, Seeded & Diced
3T Chili Powder
1t Paprika
½t Dried Oregano
½t Cayenne Pepper
1t Cumin
¼t Pumpkin Pie Spice
½t Salt
1t Onion Powder
1t Garlic Salt
2t Brown Sugar
¼C Creamy Peanut Butter
2T Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1-2T Hot Sauce
1t Worcestershire
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Souffléd Cornbread Topping:
½C Yellow Cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1 ½C Buttermilk
2T Unsalted Butter
1C Corn Kernels
½t Sugar & Salt (as well as fresh cracked pepper to taste)
Pinch of Cayenne   
2 Large Eggs, Separated
1/8t Cream of Tartar

For the Souffléd Cornbread-Mole Chile Casserole:
Prepared Mole Chili Filling
1-2C Pimento Cheese
Prepared Souffléd Cornbread Topping
Optional Toppings: Diced Raw Onions, Green Onions or Chives, Grilled Corn, Salsa, etc.

1. For the Mole Chili Filling: Heat the olive oil in a big pot on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, then add in the garlic and diced jalapenos and cook for about 2 minutes. Next, add in the ground beef and cook thoroughly through. Add in the water, crushed tomatoes, and green chiles. Let this mixture cook for about 10 minutes, then stir in chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, cumin, pumpkin pie spiced, salt, onion powder, garlic salt, and brown sugar. Let this mixture cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes. After it has simmered, stir in the creamy peanut butter, cocoa powder, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Once again, cook on simmer for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before layering it into the baking dish.
2. After the chili has cooled, pour or spoon the chili into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Layer or dollop on 1-2C of pimento cheese on top of the chili, making sure that it is in an even layer. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the baking dish aside.
3. For the Souffléd Cornbread Topping: Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the yellow cornmeal and ½C + 2T buttermilk, and then set it aside. In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the corn until it begins to brown and soften, about 5-10 minutes depending on the type of corn you use. Stir in the sugar, salt, cayenne, and the remaining 1C of buttermilk, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let the mixture steep for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the corn-milk mixture until smooth. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce heat to low, and add in the cornmeal-buttermilk mixture, whisking constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Once thickened, let this mixture cool completely to room temperature. Once cooled, whisk in the egg yolks. In a bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, and then fold it into the corn mixture, a third at a time. Gently pour the batter on top of the pimento cheese-mole chili filling. Bake for 25-35 minutes.
4. Spoon the casserole into large bowls and garnish with any other toppings you like. Serve immediately while still warm.


  1. Does this reheat in the microwave well without the soufle topping getting flat or soggy? It sounds like a great recipe to share at work, but I wouldn't want to waste its yumminess if the microwave ruins the texture. Miss B

    1. I would say it probably wouldn't be as good heated in the microwave. I feel like this is a make & bake situation. But, we didn't have any leftovers to test it out. I could see the cornbread becoming a little soft. But let me know if you try it!