Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsI’m such an optimist when it comes to meal planning. I start every week with the best of intentions, picking up a ton of fresh produce. Tomatoes and avocados go quickly around here, being tossed with pesto or mashed into guacamole or served on toast. Greens go with fried eggs or are made into a huge salad with any odds and ends I have in the fridge. But no matter what I do, something gets forgotten.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsLast week, it was nearly a pound of carrots and a few zucchini. I made some into hash browns (recipe coming soon!), but I can only eat so many of those in a week. Instead of letting good produce sit in the fridge for another day or two, I turned to my go-to Zucchini Bread recipe.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIn addition to being delicious, these Carrot-Zucchini Muffins are a little more nutritious than your average breakfast pastry. For one, they’re made with shredded carrots and zucchini—there’s a full 1/4 cup of vegetables in every serving!

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsThe batter can certainly be made with only all-purpose flour, but I like to use half whole wheat flour here. Where using all whole wheat flour has the potential to make things dry and crumbly if not handled properly, using it in a 50/50 ratio with all-purpose keeps everything nice and soft. The resulting muffins have a nutty whole grain flavor and fluffy interiors—the best of both worlds.  

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsCarrot-Zucchini Muffins are pretty low in sugar, coming in at less than a tablespoon per serving. While adding a few more tablespoons of sugar could certainly amp up the flavor, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg basically do the same thing without adding to the calorie count.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIf you’re looking to get some extra vegetables into your family this summer, this is one easy way to do it. These muffins have all that carrot and zucchini, a bit of whole grain, and with such minimal sugar, seconds are encouraged. Also, they freeze like a dream—just pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 45 seconds or so. Served alongside a glass of Cold Brew, eating your vegetables has never been so delicious.Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins
makes 12 standard Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, not packed (about 2 medium zucchini)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Fold in shredded carrots and zucchini. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles.

Bake 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 350F for another 12-14 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

To freeze, place cooled muffins on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Transfer to a labeled freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight or microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & Grits

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsThis past Friday night I was asked to cater a dinner party for twenty. The guest of honor hadn’t asked for anything but Red Velvet Cake, so I reached out to her early in the week to ask what she would like to have for dinner. As often happens, she turned the question around on me and asked what I thought would be good. My mind immediately went to Shrimp & Grits, a classic low-country dish, to go along with her decidedly southern cake. When I gave her my suggestion, she replied “That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day.” And so it was.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsFriday came, and with it a quintuple batch of Shrimp & Grits, a big green salad with tomato, avocado, and buttermilk dressing, and thick slices of Red Velvet Cake served to dear friends in a garden in Brooklyn Heights. And you know what? It was maybe the best dinner party I’ve catered so far, and I’ve catered a lot of dinner parties. The food was good, the company was better, and I never really got flustered–a win all around. I was super proud of the work I had done, but I couldn’t help thinking about how I could make Shrimp & Grits “my own.” What can I say? I can’t leave well enough alone.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsAnd so, I spent this past weekend making even more Shrimp & Grits. But instead of keeping it traditional, I added a little southwestern flair. I whisked a touch of cayenne into the cheddar cheese grits. I swapped the bacon for chorizo. I traded lemon for lime. I added traditional southwestern spices like cumin and chipotle powder to the sauce, and I topped it all with chopped fresh cilantro.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsY’all, these are the best Shrimp & Grits I’ve ever had. The grits are super creamy and cheesy with just a hint of heat. The shrimp are smoky and a little spicy with a good hit of lime. Southern comfort food meets the southwest–yum.

The best part? This hearty, comforting meal comes together in under an hour, meaning that you can have Shrimp & Grits any night of the week. And on the chance that you have leftovers the next morning, I highly recommend topping them with a fried egg.Southwestern-Style Shrimp & Grits

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & Grits
makes 4 servings

Grits:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup old-fashioned grits*
6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Shrimp:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces Spanish-style (dried) chorizo, casings removed, quartered, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 pound peeled & deveined raw jumbo shrimp, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1 sweet bell pepper, diced small
4 scallions, white and green parts separated, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 large (or 3 small) cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
juice of 1 lime
chopped cilantro, for garnish

Prepare the grits. Combine milk and water in a 4-6 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, watching carefully so that the mixture does not boil over. Add salt. Whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered until cooked (mine took 20 minutes*). Remove from heat. Whisk in cheddar cheese, followed by butter and cayenne. Cover while you make the shrimp.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add chorizo, cooking until crispy. Remove the chorizo to a bowl. Remove and reserve all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat from the pan.

Working in batches if necessary, add shrimp to the pan and cook just until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Add more fat to the pan as necessary. bell pepper and sliced white portions of scallion to the pan and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chipotle powder, cumin, and optional cayenne. Add chicken broth and let come to a simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of the boiling chicken stock until a gluey paste (slurry) forms. Stir it back into the simmering chicken stock mixture and cook until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Fold shrimp and sliced green portions of scallion and cook for 1-2 more minutes, just to heat through. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice.

To serve, divide grits among four bowls. Top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Leftover grits will keep in the fridge for up to five days. Leftover shrimp are good for up to three days.

Notes:

  1. I used Quaker Old-Fashioned Grits. You may also use quick grits or stone ground grits.
  2. Refer to grits packaging for cook time.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at Home {Full Photo Tutorial}

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeI have made eleven pizzas since Saturday night. Eleven.

That’s seven batches of dough, five pounds of four different flours, a container of Pomi strained tomatoes, four pounds of mozzarella, and a bunch of basil. Whew.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeNo, I did not eat eleven whole pizzas. Not even close. I tasted eight of them, gave a lot to my roommates, fed two to the family I work for, and deposited three directly into the trash. You see, I was on a mission. I wanted to see if I could make restaurant-quality pizza at home–without a stone, peel, or an oven that reaches 1000F.

I don’t think I’ll be putting Di Fara out of business anytime soon, but yes, I can in fact make a high quality pizza in my home oven. And now, so can you.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeNow, I’m sure many of you have made pizza–probably very good pizza–at home. I have too, but it was never anything like the pizza I want when I go out with friends. Where their pizzas are paper thin, delicate, and charred to perfection, mine have traditionally been thick and bready, with a yeasty flavor and pale crust. I’m not saying those pizzas were tough to eat; I’m just saying that, after this past weekend, I don’t think I’ll spend so much time daydreaming about the pizzeria six blocks away.

So, how do I make quality pizza in an apartment oven that barely reaches 500F? Well, it’s simpler than I ever imagined it could be.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeFirst things first–every great pizza starts with great dough. Mine is simple to make, doesn’t require any unusual flours, and comes together quickly. Just whisk together flour, instant yeast, sugar, and salt, then stir in water and olive oil until a shaggy dough forms. I find this easiest to do with my hand, but I’m sure a silicone spatula works too.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeOnce the dough is formed, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes. Then knead it on a floured surface until smooth, about seven minutes. That’s fun for me–I love to knead. If kneading is not your favorite task, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Just let it run on low for seven minutes.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeUse a sharp knife to divide the kneaded dough into two pieces. Form them into balls, place them on a floured baking sheet, and brush them with olive oil. Cover them with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour. The dough will expand into two large, thick discs.

Now it’s time to make the pizzas. Before you do anything else, preheat your oven to 500F. It needs to heat for at least an hour–it should be screaming hot. If you have an in-oven broiler, place a rack about six inches away from the heating element.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeTake one disc of dough, lifting it with the tops of your hands. Let gravity stretch it while you slowly move your hands in a circular fashion. The dough is very delicate and will stretch in a minute or so. Gently lay the stretched dough on a floured baking sheet, shaping it as necessary. Pinch the edges lightly to form a crust. Repeat this process with the other disc of dough.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeNext, top the pizzas. Today’s recipe is for a classic Pizza Margherita, topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil. I like to use Pomi strained tomatoes for my sauce, but use any sauce you like. Spread it around each pizza crust, leaving the pinched border bare. Top them with torn fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeBaking the pizzas is a two step process and neither is what you might expect. Instead of being baked on a rack, the pizzas are baked in their pans on the oven floor. Yes, the oven floor. This is the poor (wo)man’s way of getting a crisp bottom crust without having to work with (or even own) a pizza stone. Bake the pizzas for about seven minutes–when you take them out of the oven, lift the edges with a spatula to make sure the bottom crust has some good color.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeNext up, broil the pizzas. I know this sounds drastic, but a 500F oven will never give you the blistered cheese and singed crust that the broiler will. This is a quick process; it usually takes me 2 1/2-3 minutes. This step will give the pizzas a sort of charred flavor, not unlike those at your favorite coal oven pizzeria.How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeHow to Make Excellent Pizza at Home

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeOnce the pizzas are to your liking, remove them from the broiler. Top them immediately with some grated Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and some torn fresh basil. Let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to cutting boards and slicing them up.

How to Make Excellent Pizza at HomeThese pizzas, y’all. They’re thin and delicate, but have a good crisp edge and chewy crusts. Oh, and the flavors. It goes without saying that the combination of tomato, mozzarella, and basil is an unbeatable classic, and the slight char from the broiling step brings it over the top. You won’t be able to stop at just one slice!

And that, my friends, is how you make pizza reminiscent of your favorite pizzeria at home. All you need is a little dough, a few toppings, some time, and eleven test-pizzas worth of ingenuity.How to Make Excellent Pizza at Home

Pizza Dough
makes enough for 2 12-inch pizzas

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (instructions for regular yeast below)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil + more for brushing
1 cup lukewarm tap water

In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir together flour, instant yeast, sugar, and salt. Add olive oil and water. Mix with your hand or a silicone spatula just until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flour a surface and your hands. Turn dough onto the surface and knead until smooth, about 7 minutes. Form dough into a ball. Divide dough ball into two pieces and form those into balls. Heavily flour a rimmed baking sheet (or two dinner plates). Place dough balls in opposite corners and brush any exposed dough with olive oil. Wrap pan in plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-70 minutes, until doubled in size. Proceed with pizza-making.

Notes:

You may also use regular active dry yeast, but the recipe needs a few adjustments. All volumes stay the same. Start by dissolving sugar and yeast into the lukewarm tap water. Let sit 5-10 minutes, until yeast bubbles (proofs). If your yeast does not bubble, it is dead–start the recipe again with new yeast. In a medium-large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Add olive oil and yeast mixture. Use your hand or a silicone spatula to mix until just combined. Cover bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Proceed with recipe as written, keeping in mind that the rise might take up to 90 minutes.

Pizza Margherita
makes 2 12-inch pizzas, enough for 4-6 adults

1 batch Pizza Dough (2 dough balls)
6-8 tablespoons strained tomatoes, tomato purée, or other sauce, divided
8-12 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces, divided
olive oil, for drizzling
grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves, torn

If you have an in-oven broiler, place one rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Preheat oven to 500F for at least one hour–the entire oven needs to be very hot.

Flour 2 rimmed baking sheets, tapping out any excess.

Flour your hands. Working with one ball of risen pizza dough at a time, place your hands (palms down) underneath the dough, lifting it from the pan it rose on. Let dough stretch with gravity, moving your hands slowly in a circular motion to allow for even stretching. Gently place dough on one of the prepared pans. Stretch further with your fingertips until the desired shape is reached. Pinch the edges to form a crust. Set aside while you stretch and shape the other ball of dough.

Working with one pizza at a time, pour 3-4 tablespoons of sauce in the center. Use a spoon or ladle to spread the sauce in a circular motion, leaving blank space at the edge. Scatter torn mozzarella over the top. Drizzle with olive oil. Set aside while you top the other pizza.

Working with one pizza at a time, bake pizza (in the lightly-floured pan) for 6-8 minutes on the floor of your oven. Remove from oven. Lift edges with a spatula to ensure bottom crust is browned. If it isn’t, bake for an additional 1-2 minutes, checking bottom crust after each minute. Repeat process with other pizza.

If you do not have an in-oven broiler, turn off oven and heat broiler for 5-10 minutes, until very hot. If you do have an in-oven broiler, turn it on and proceed immediately.

Broil each pizza 1-4 minutes, until crust and cheese are bubbly and a bit charred. Check pizzas after each minute, and every 30-45 seconds after the 2 minute mark. My pizzas broil in 2 1/2-3 minutes. I like to rotate the pans after 1 1/2 minutes for even browning. Let pizzas cool for five minutes in their pans.

Remove to cutting board(s). Top with grated Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and torn fresh basil. Slice with a sharp chef’s knife (or pizza cutter) and serve. Wrap any leftovers in foil and store in the refrigerator.

Steak Fajitas

Steak FajitasHello! I am taking a break from an absolutely insane week to bring you one of my favorite dinners ever–Steak Fajitas!

Steak FajitasAs you know by now, I was raised in Texas. Naturally, Tex-Mex is my love language. And while I live for enchiladas, fajitas are the real way to my heart. Yep.

Until a few years ago, I thought of fajitas as a restaurant-only meal. It’s easy to understand, given that I had only ever seen them served in a blistering hot cast iron pan. Something about all that presentation (which occasionally included fire) made fajitas seem far beyond my abilities. That’s ridiculous, of course. Fajitas are just meat, peppers, and onions that have been cooked in a screaming-hot pan. That’s literally the whole process, aside from heating some tortillas and arranging some toppings. You don’t even have to make guacamole and salsa if you don’t feel like it.

You totally should though. Homemade guacamole and salsa beat the pants off anything you can buy.Steak FajitasSo, how exactly do you make Steak Fajitas at home? Well, it all starts with the marinade. Mine involves soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, cilantro, lime, and plenty of spices–loads of flavor here! Mix the marinade, pour it in a bag, and add two pounds of flank steak. Seal the bag and then let the meat sit at room temperature for an hour.

Next, slice up a large onion and some bell peppers. That won’t take the whole hour, so make the guacamole and salsa (seriously, do it), shred some cheese, chop some cilantro, and take the remaining half hour to needlessly surf the Internet or teach yourself how to do calligraphy or something.

Steak FajitasWhen the hour is up, cook the steaks as desired. These are cooked to medium, but make yours to your liking. Then, let them rest while you cook the peppers and onions. Slice the steaks and transfer everything to a serving dish. Warm some tortillas and serve with all those garnishes. Your family and friends will love being able to customize this meal to their liking!

Steak FajitasSteak FajitasY’all, these Steak Fajitas are crazy good. The steak is super flavorful from the marinade, and the vegetables are the perfect accompaniment. Piled into a warm flour tortilla and topped with all sorts of goodness, these fajitas are great for weeknights and summertime dinner parties alike! The only way to improve upon this meal is to make Churros for dessert 😊Steak Fajitas

Steak Fajitas
makes about 6 servings

Marinade:
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground chile powder (I used ancho)
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 limes, sliced into half-moons
1 jalapeño, stem removed, sliced in half

Fajitas:
2 pounds flank steak (I had 2 steaks)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1-2 sweet bell peppers, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

For serving:
1-2 dozen small flour tortillas, warmed
guacamole
salsa
shredded cheese
sour cream
chopped cilantro

Marinate the steak. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chile powder, and cayenne. Pour mixture into a gallon zip-top bag, and drop in lime slices and jalapeño. Add steak to bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Set full bag in a bowl (in case of leaks) and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour (or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator). Remove steak from bag and blot with paper towels. Discard marinade.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Working in batches (if necessary) cook each steak 3-4 minutes per side for medium, or longer, depending on your preferences. Remove to a rimmed sheet pan and tent with foil.

Turn heat down to medium. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, if necessary. Add onions and peppers to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until soft (about 10 minutes). Remove to a serving dish.

Remove steak to a cutting board. Working against the grain, cut the steak into thin slices. Transfer to a serving dish.

Serve fajitas with warm flour tortillas, guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, and/or cilantro, if desired.

Fajitas will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Beef & Chorizo Chili

Beef & Chorizo ChiliAs I’ve mentioned many times, I do not care for football. Bores me to tears. Please don’t make me watch it.

All that said, yes, I do want to come to your Super Bowl party. I have no idea who’s playing whom (nor do I care), but I am very much interested in what snacks you’ll be serving. Oh yes, I love game day food. Chips, guacamole, salsa, buffalo chicken, weirdly delicious Double Chocolate Fritos Cookies–whatever you’ve got on the buffet table, I. am. interested.

Beef & Chorizo ChiliChili is arguably the ultimate game day food. Spicy, meaty, and good with just about anything (especially this Southern-Style Cornbread), it’s a total crowd pleaser. Chili can be made a million different ways, but this version, made with beef and chorizo, is my favorite. It came to be on a fridge-cleaning night three years ago, and its combination of unusual ingredients really make it something special. In this chili, you’ll find:

  • Mushrooms. Here they provide a little nutrition and also infuse the chili with their meaty umami flavor, just like they do in my Bolognese. Have mushroom haters in your family? Don’t fret–they’re diced small here and browned to the point that they blend in with everything else.
  • Cocoa Powder. It’s used as part of the spice blend in this chili, along with the usual cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne. This small dose of cocoa will not make your finished product taste like chocolate–it’s just there for a little depth.
  • Soy Sauce. Like the mushrooms, the soy sauce is here for its umami flavor. It’s also here to even out the flavor, and precludes the need for any extra seasoning.

Beef & Chorizo ChiliThose ingredients might sound strange, but when they come together with the beef, chorizo, and aromatics, they make some seriously amazing chili. One thing you won’t find in this recipe? Beans. They’re not traditionally a part of chili (in my native Texas, at least). I won’t tell anybody if you add a can or two of drained, rinsed pinto beans though. I am all for anything that keeps me from having to make a side dish.

Beef & Chorizo ChiliLooking for more game day food? Check out my Guacamole, Restaurant-Style Salsa, Artichoke Dip, Buffalo Chicken Biscuits, and Ultimate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies!

Beef & Chorizo Chili
serves 4-6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound fresh raw chorizo, removed from casings
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced small
1 large white onion, diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced small
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 chipotles in adobo, minced + 1 Tbsp of the sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups + 2 Tbsp water, divided
1 Tbsp corn meal
grated cheddar cheese, for serving

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown beef and chorizo, breaking them up as necessary, until very brown (about 20 minutes). Remove the meat to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving two tablespoons of fat in the pan.

Add mushrooms to the pan and brown, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. Do not burn. Remove to a plate.

Add onion and red bell pepper to the pot and brown for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.

Reduce heat to medium. Return meat and mushrooms to the pot. Stir in cumin, chili powder, oregano, cocoa powder, and cayenne. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Allow everything to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add beef broth. Bring the pot to a boil before reducing the heat. Allow chili to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir occasionally.

Add chipotle adobo sauce, soy sauce, and 2 cups of water. Allow chili to continue simmering until liquid has reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornmeal and 2 tablespoons of water. Once chili has reduced, stir in cornmeal mixture and cook for an additional five minutes, until thickened slightly. Remove pot from heat.

Serve chili in shallow bowls. Top with grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Leftover chili will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.