Hi! I want to make Nigella's Cornbread Topped Chilli (from Feast) for a party in a few weeks time and wonder what the best way of preparing it in advance would be? Should I just make the chilli, freeze it and make the cornbread topping on the day (or day before) or can I make the whole recipe in advance, cook it, freeze it and then just heat on the night (having defrosted it of course!). What do you suggest? Many thanks, Aileen.
Chilli is a great dish to make in advance and, like many slow cooked dishes, it improves if made a day ahead and then reheated. We would suggest just making the chilli part of the dish in advance and freezing it. This is mainly as it will take a long time for the chilli to reheat in the oven and during the reheating the cornbread topping may dry out too much. It's also easier and more space efficient to freeze the chilli alone. The cornbread topping is quick to make, just measure out the dry and wet ingredients in advance and mix them together at the last minute.
Once the chilli is cooked, cool and refrigerate it as quickly as possible (refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking). Freeze the chilli in airtight containers for up to 3 months. Thaw the chilli overnight in the fridge before using. To reheat the chilli it is probably easiest to transfer it to a casserole dish (Dutch oven), or similar flameproof vessel, and reheat the chilli on the hob over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is piping hot. Then top with the cornbread mixture and bake as per the recipe.