Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pork Chili

This recipe is not unlike my pork stew.  The difference is in the flavorings used.  If you can get the various chili powders -- New Mexico, chipotle, pimenton, etc. -- it will make a vast difference in the flavor.  Supermarket chili powder tends to be rather unassertive in character.   

4-5 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
An assortment of vegetables – carrots, onions, celery, garlic, bell pepper – to make 4 cups
Powdered chili peppers – 2 Tbp each of New Mexico, chipotle, and sweet pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika).   If you don't have pimenton, use a good-quality sweet paprika.
2 Tbp ground cumin
28-oz can crushed tomatoes
Bay leaf
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Like my pork stew, pork chili is SO superior to beef, that when you try this, you'll wonder how you've been making beef chili all these years.

This recipe is also different from many chili recipes in two ways:  I do not use ground meat, and I don't add beans.  In that respect it is similar to many Texas-style chilies, though most of them use beef. 

Cut up the pork shoulder into 1-inch cubes.  Season liberally.  In a 5- or 6-quart Dutch oven, brown the pork in batches in a small amount of oil.  (Don’t forget what Julia taught us: dry the meat before you add it to the pot, and don't crowd it!)  Set aside the cooked pork cubes as they're done.

Cube the veggies.  In the same pot, add a bit more oil, and brown the veggies lightly.  Season them well.   Add back the pork. 

Add the chili powders, the cumin, and the bay leaf.  Cook for a minute or two to brown the spice mixture.  Add the crushed tomatoes.

Add the beer.  I love a good amber beer like Yuengling Lager for the cooking liquid.  Add enough liquid so that it barely comes to the top of the mixture of meat and veggies.  You'll probably need 2 to 3 12-oz bottles of beer. 

Bring the chili to a simmer on the stovetop, cover, and put into a 300-325°F oven for two to three hours, until the pork is fall-apart tender. 

Test for seasoning and adjust as necessary.  Add some fresh, chopped cilantro at the end if you like it.  I do!

Serve with steamed, butter rice, sour cream, shredded cheddar or jack cheese, sliced pickled jalapenos, and chopped scallions.

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