This is an easy, one-dish meal using lots of homegrown ingredients. Just serve with a salad.
For the cornbread
Preheat a 10″ cast iron skillet at 425°F (220°C) with 1/4 cup of your favorite fat or oil.
1.5 cup cornmeal (I used homegrown, home ground)
0.5 cup unbleached white flour (makes the cornbread less crumbly)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir
Pour into hot skillet and bake till half done (about 10 minutes).
Recipe note: Baking cornbread in a preheated cast iron skillet is the Southern (best!) way of making cornbread. This technique makes a delicious cornbread with a crispy crust. If you use a regular baking pan, add the fat to the batter.
For the topping
Brown in another hot skillet:
handful of chopped onion
handful of chopped green pepper
ground meat (ours is usually chevon)
salt & pepper to taste
canned chili beans (can use any cooked dry bean. Leftovers are good here)
chopped fresh tomato
Remove half-baked cornbread from the oven. Top first with beans, then browned meat mixture, then the cheese, lastly the tomato. Finish baking (until inserted knife comes out clean).
Slice into wedges and serve immediately.
Recipe note: I like to preheat the beans before spooning them onto the cornbread batter. I find cold beans slows the baking of the top of the cornbread.
For those of you who would prefer precise amounts for the topping ingredients, I apologize. This is one of those recipes where you just use what you've got to taste. More or less of any topping ingredient is absolutely okay!