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Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Chili By Any Other Name: Smoky Chipotle Pork Chili with Beans

This. Is. Awesome.

This is so awesome that my entire bean-hating-won't-eat-chili family (who are these people?) scarfed down bowl after bowl of this.

Okay, fine, I had to call it "pork stew" until after they tried it and THEN I told them it was chili... but whatever works, right?

I'll be honest. This isn't the first time I've had to use lies word-play to get my family to eat something. Words are powerful. My daughters still turn up their noses whenever I use the word "squash," but they will happily eat a bowl of Harvest Soup. Main ingredient? Butternut squash. Several years ago, my youngest spooned suspiciously through her clam chowder and asked me what the "little meaty bits" were. With no hesitation, I answered "chicken" and we were good to go. And frankly, they still don't know that three Easters ago the steak they raved about was actually lamb.

They're teens now, and not as fussy as they used to be, thank goodness. But none of them, including Mr. Soup, will touch chili with a 10-foot pole. And with the epic snowfall the week before, I knew I wanted something hearty to serve to the people who came to the Soup Swap. This chili is absolutely perfect winter food. It has great depth of flavor, falling-apart tender pork, and the exact right amount of heat. The swappers loved it. And with a little mom-perogative treachery, so did my family. Yes.

Smoky Chipotle Pork Chili with Beans
serves 8-10

1 pound bacon, thinly sliced
6 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
3 fresh jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped (I left some of the seeds in)
4 large garlic cloves,  pressed through a garlic press
1 T. dried oregano, crumbled
2 T. chili powder (I used ancho chili powder)
2 T.  ground cumin
1/2 t. cayenne
1/4 c. chopped chipotle peppers in adobo  (this was around 5-6 chipotles plus 2 T. of the adobo or so)
1 26-oz box Swanson's Cooking Beef Stock
1 c. strong brewed coffee (I used a Starbuck's VIA for this)
12 oz. bottle of dark beer
3 28-oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Cook the bacon in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat until crisp. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain and reserve until later. Pour off all but about 2 T. bacon fat. Season pork cubes with salt and pepper. Add vegetable oil to pot and heat over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Brown the pork in batches and transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Don't crowd the meat or you'll end up steaming it rather than browning. Add more vegetable oil if needed for the subsequent batches. Reserve pork for later.
Add the onion and jalapeños and sautee over  medium heat, stirring, until softened, around 8 minutes. Be sure and scrape up all the fond on the bottom of the pan so that it coats the vegetables. Add garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne, and chipotles, then sautee, stirring, 1 minute. Return pork to the soup pot along with any juice on the plate and add the beef stock, coffee, beer, and tomatoes.
Simmer the chili, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender and falls easily apart, about 2 hours. Stir both kinds of  beans and the bacon back in, and continue to simmer 20-30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Serve chili with the usual chili garnishes: grated cheese, green onions, sour cream, and don't forget the cornbread!  

1 comment:

  1. Love anything with chipotle! You've got lots of great Mexican flavours going on here! I love it!