For Christmas, my wife gave me two tiny cast iron Dutch ovens, and I wanted to welcome them into my cast iron collection with a grand introduction. After struggling to decide between making a stew and a shepherd’s pie, we realized we didn’t have to choose between the two! Instead, we opted to combine the two concepts to create a new twist on an old classic. A chili (stew influence) with a carby topper component (shepherd’s pie influence)!
Almost anyone who likes chili knows that it goes together really well with a handful of sides….but one of the best pairings is with cornbread. So, we decided to make a corn fritter and put it on top of our chili. That allowed us to crunch through the top layer with the spoon and get a bit of chili and a bit of corn fritter in each bite!
Sidenote: While we made this recipe with mutton, you can use beef, turkey, or venison just as easily…or skip our chili recipe and make your favourite chili in this style!
Time: 75 Minutes
- For the Chili:
- Mutton (or beef or venison if you prefer)…We are using a steak that we cut into small cubes, but you can use ground if you prefer
- Tomato (We are using a can of fire roasted tomatoes for the sake of time)
- Chili Powder
- Any Heat spices you like…we are using a mix of Chipotle Chili Powder and Cayenne to give our chili a kick
- Optional: Cheese (we are using semi-sharp cheddar)
- For the Fritter:
- Corn (freshly cut off the cob or frozen)
- Corn Meal
- An Egg
- Salt (to taste)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Start by cooking your lentils. We generally boil them in a 4 parts water, 1 part lentil ratio until the water is absorbed…But taste them after to make sure they are tender.
- While your lentils cook, mix your corn, egg, corn meal, and salt together to form a goopy paste. Then, heat your cast iron vessel with some butter, and when the butter is hot, spread your paste into the pan. Let this cook for probably 7-8 minutes, and then flip your fritter. This was easy for us since we were using the little cast iron Dutch ovens, and we could just flip them over a plate to plop the fritter out, and then we could just put it back in top side down to finish…if you’re using a large Dutch oven, you’ll have to get creative.
- Let your fritter cook for another 3-5 minutes on the other side, and then remove and set aside.
- Dice your onion and meat.
- Melt some more butter in your Dutch oven, and then add your onion, stirring occasionally until it turns opaque. Then, add your meat and spices, and let everything brown a little.
- While the meat and onions are cooking, open your roasted tomato can, and puree it in a food processor/blender/Ninja.
- When your meat is seared, and your onions have begun to caramelize, scoop your lentils in, and then pour you tomato puree atop everything. Carefully stir to combine.
- Put the lid on, and stash everything in the oven to braise for about a half hour.
- Remove the lid, add any cheese you want atop your chili, and place your fritter on top of everything.
- Put the Dutch oven back in the oven without the lid for about 5-10 minutes to reheat your fritter.
- Plate, devour, and enjoy!