First Taste of Fall: Gaines Family Chili and Jalapeño Cornbread Recipe

by Magnolia
Published on September 21, 2021

With the arrival of fall, we can finally start reaching for those tried-and-true recipes that feel synonymous with the season. The same ones that  lend themselves to sharing with family and friends. And when our tables are full, there's no going wrong with a taste of comfort. That’s why we’re sharing a Magnolia fall favorite: Gaines Family Chili.

Few things pair better with chili than fresh cornbread. This Jalapeño Cornbread recipe is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and gives just the right amount of kick. (If you’re spice-averse, simply skip the jalapeños.) We hope these first tastes of fall might pull you forward into the season and give you more reason to gather around the table with the people you love. Try these recipes at home, or visit us in Waco and try them in person at Magnolia Table!

Gaines Family Chili
from Magnolia Table Cookbook

prep: 5 minutes

cook: about 45 minutes

cool: none


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large white onion, finely chopped

2 pounds ground beef (80% lean)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Two 10-ounce cans mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, such as Ro*tel, undrained

Two 26-ounce cans Southwestern-style beans, preferably Ranch Style brand, undrained

One 10.25-ounce bag Fritos

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)

Jalapeño Cornbread (see recipe below)


1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and tender, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the beef and a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often to break up the meat, until it loses its pink color, 6 to 7 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and beans with their juice. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

4. Ladle the chili into bowls. Serve topped with Fritos and grated Cheddar and accompanied by cornbread.

5. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Jalapeño Cornbread
from Magnolia Table Cookbook

prep: 5 minutes

cook: 50 minutes

cool: none


4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus softened butter for the skillet and for serving

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 cup fine stone-ground yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs

1 cup drained canned white corn

¼ cup chopped drained pickled jalapeños (optional)

¼ cup chopped drained roasted pimientos (optional)


1. Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and garlic powder.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, cream, and eggs.

4. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture along with the corn and the jalapeños (if using) and pimientos (if using). Stir until moistened but not overmixed; the batter will be thick.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared skillet and smooth the top. Bake until the top is lightly browned, the edges are browned, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

6. Slice the warm cornbread into 6 wedges and serve at once with pats of butter.

7. Cornbread is best the day it is made. Wrap leftovers tightly in foil and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat by slicing and toasting or broiling.

Makes 6 servings

Top your cornbread with a pat of butter or a drizzle of honey, or even crumble a slice on top of a warm bowl of chili. We’re excited for you to try these recipes—let us know what you think!

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We serve these dishes on the fall menu at Magnolia Table! Plan your next visit to Waco here.