The autumn days of colorful falling foliage bring on earlier brisk nights that beg for a comforting cup of tea. Better yet, why not have our cup of tea and eat it too. Just imagine chili’s hearty spice and warming nature enhanced by the coffee aroma and earthy flavors of black Kukicha twig tea. Sweet corn bread combined with the rich honey notes of golden needle black tea filling you up with undeniable warmth.

Tea Chili and Cornbread - perfect for cooler weather tea times! (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Chili and Cornbread – perfect for cooler weather tea times! (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Chili

1 whole diced white onion
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic minced

Place oil and diced onions in a large stock pot over medium low heat. Stir occasionally allowing them to cook for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden and translucent. Add in the minced garlic.

1 cup vegetable or beef broth
2 Tbsp Kukicha twig black tea (substitute: Lapsang Souchong, Nilgiri, Hojicha, Pu-erh)
2 ½ – 3 lbs of Chuck steak cut into cubes seasoned with salt and pepper.

While the onions are cooking, place broth in the microwave on high for about 1½ minutes or until boiling. Place tea in hot water and steep for 10 minutes, then remove the tea.

In a large skillet over medium high heat brown your seasoned steak cubes. You may need to do this in a few batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove browned beef from the skillet and deglaze with the tea broth you created. Once all the bits from the bottom of the skillet are combined with the liquid stir it into the stock pot with the onions and garlic. Place the browned beef into the stock pot along with the following ingredients:

2 large Anaheim chili’s diced (substitute: bell peppers, jalapeño)
2 28oz cans of tomato sauce
2 28oz cans of organic kidney beans (use entire contents of can, including the starchy liquid)
2 tbsp salt
3 tbsp Ancho chili powder (substitute: chili powder)
1 tbsp Chipotle chili powder (substitute: chili powder)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp brown sugar

Stir all ingredients together until combined. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat and cook for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally. Serves 12-14 people.

Tea Corn Bread

Preheat your oven to 350°
2 cups milk heated to 200°
1 tbsp golden needle tea (substitute: gold bud)

Steep the tea in the milk for 5 minutes then remove the tea. Let cool for a few minutes.

2 cups flour
2 cups corn meal
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs

In a large bowl mix together flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl temper your eggs with the cooling steeped milk then mix together and add in the oil. Combine the wet and dry by slowing pouring the wet into the dry while mixing. Pour your batter into a greased 9 by 13 baker. Place into your preheated oven for 25 minutes or until cooked through in the center. Serves 12-14 people.

See more of Janet Sanchez’s articles here.

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