What’s more comforting than a big bowl of chili on a cold night? How about a chili chock full of smoky bacon, bourbon, and sweet maple syrup all served on top of a cornbread waffle? Oh yeah, this chili dinner fills you up and warms your soul.
As soon as the cold November air came in, I shifted right to comfort food dishes without missing a beat. I’m talking hearty meals you can make in a big batch and eat out of a bowl cupped in your hands. These are the kind of meals that make the early darkness and heavier jackets feel just a bit more bearable. Essentially that means soups, stews, and chilis are on the menu, on repeat, from now until Spring.
I made this for a Saturday night dinner but, talk about taking your game day eats or potluck dish to the next level! Bacon, cumin, smoked paprika, and bourbon give this chili a nice smoky flavor base that matches well with a gentle hint of sweetness from maple syrup. Some raw onion and cilantro sprinkled on top give each bite a little brightness. Your taste buds have a fun ride through the levels of flavor.
I could have just made plain old cornbread, but I’d been kind of obsessed with using my waffle maker lately. And, seriously, using a muffin mix in the waffle maker is so easy and so good. The waffles turn out perfectly. And, who couldn’t use a shortcut once in a while?
Listen, I’m not a big fan of the cold and dark days upon us, but they do make me appreciate the warmer, lighter months all that much more. It’s part of the cycle of life and I’m learning to embrace the positives, like weeknight fires in the fireplace and sharing meals just like this.
So here’s to settling in, hunkering down, and savoring comforting meals with friends and family.
Maple Bacon Bourbon Chili On Cornbread Waffle
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2, 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
- 1, 15 oz. can red kidney beans
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 8.5 oz. Jiffy corn muffin mix
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup minced yellow onion (optional)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon pieces and saute until crisp. Using a slotted spoon scoop up bacon pieces and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.
To the bacon fat in the large pot add the ground turkey. Break the turkey apart with a wooden spoon. Add the onion. Cook 6-8 minutes until the onion becomes translucent, stirring occasionally. Turkey should be cooked through.
- Add the cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, ground coriander, salt, and black pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring often.
- Add the diced tomatoes, beans, bourbon, and maple syrup. Stir well. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low or medium-low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the chili simmers, mix together the corn muffin mix, egg, and milk (or as per the mix instructions).
- Preheat waffle iron to medium heat (350°F to 375°F) or as manufacturer directs. When the waffle iron is ready, lightly grease and pour in 3/4 cup batter. Cook until steaming stops (or waffle iron indicates done). Repeat with the remaining batter. Makes 2, 7″ Belgian waffles.
- Place half a waffle onto each plate. Spoon some chili over each half-waffle and top with a sprinkle of crispy bacon pieces, minced raw onion, and cilantro. Serve immediately.