|Cornbread-Crusted Bean Chili|
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and reserved spice mixture and sauté about 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomato and chipotle chile and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to achieve a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
Transfer 6 cups of the cooked or canned beans and their liquid to the mixture. (Cover and refrigerate or freeze any remaining beans for another purpose.) Add water if needed to cover the beans barely. Simmer until the mixture is well flavored, about 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 350° F. Grease a 3-quart shallow baking dish, a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, or 8 individual-sized baking dishes.
Remove the chili from the heat and stir in the lime juice or vinegar and chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings. Drain in a colander or sieve to remove excess liquid, which can be saved for adding to a soup or other dish. Transfer the drained chili to the prepared baking dish(es). Set aside.
Spread the cornbread batter evenly over the top of the chili, dividing it equally if using individual baking dishes. Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cornbread layer comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Garnish with cilantro sprigs or leaves and serve hot.
Makes 8 servings.
From: JAMES MCNAIR'S BEANS AND GRAINS
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