Heat half the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the beef and sauté for about 5 minutes until lightly browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Pour in the tomatoes and chilli beans, then season to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has slightly reduced.
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4. Place the cornmeal in a bowl with the flour, baking powder and a teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine, then make a well in the centre and quickly whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the eggs and buttermilk until you have a smooth batter. Spoon the chilli into the bottom of a deep ovenproof dish and pour over the cornmeal mixture in an even layer. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Serve with the salad.
- 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 450 g (1 lb) lean minced beef
- 2 x 400-g (14-oz) cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 400-g (14-oz) cans chilli beans
- 150 g (5 oz) cornmeal or quick-cook polenta
- 150 g (5 oz) self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 300 ml (1⁄2 pint) buttermilk or Greek yoghurt
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- mixed green salad, lightly dressed, to serve