Cornbread, of course, is the perfect accompaniment to any hearty chili. In the excellent How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman calls cornbread "one of the most important recipes I know" and lauds it as one of the most versatile, flavorful recipes that happens to be incredibly simple to make. That is high praise for what is essentially a humble dish. (Side note: has my frequent raving convinced you how truly indispensable Mark Bittman's cookbook is???)
If you don't have a trusty cookbook cornbread recipe at hand, this recipe has served me well. For my taste, cornbread is best made with buttermilk (it yields a slightly lighter result) and isn't noticeably sweet. I want it to stand up to pairing with savory dishes, but you can vary this recipe infinitely to suite your own taste. When making cornbread in a cast iron skillet, my favorite trick is to line the bottom of the skill with foil or parchment (even when the skillet is well seasoned) to make removal super easy.