Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our Favorite Pork Chili

The chili recipe that I use as a take-off point for Our Favorite Pork Chili was published as Boston Marathon Chili in the April 1992 issue of Bon Appetit. I found where I reviewed it on 1/1/2003 (I was "A Cook from Mandeville, LA" at that point), but I am certain that I'd made it many times before then. The original recipe calls for half pork and half beef, but after making it the first time, I was sold on the pork.  It gets incredibly tender as it simmers in the sauce.

Sorrento Pork Chili

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 pounds boneless country-style spareribs, cut into 1-inch cubes and excess fat discarded
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, liquid reserved
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 large jalapeño chilies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Cholula hot sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 16-ounce cans chili beans with sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa chile blend
  • Grated colby-jack cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped red onions
  • Sliced avocado
  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, using a slotted spoon.
  3. Add the pork to the Dutch oven in batches, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook over medium-high heat until no longer pink, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes per batch.
  4. Return the onion mixture to the Dutch oven. Add the tomatoes with liquid, chili powder, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, oregano, Cholula and beef broth. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover Dutch oven and simmer until pork is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
  6. Add the chili beans with sauce, red wine, and the cocoa chile powder to the chili.
  7. Simmer uncovered until the pork is tender and the chili thickens, about 45 minutes.
  8. Adjust seasoning. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, cilantro, red onions and avocado.
The spiciness of the chili is going depend on your jalapenos and what kind of chili powder you use. About 90 percent of the jalapenos I buy at the grocery store these days are not very hot so I compensate by using the whole jalapeno -- seeds and all -- or by adding a small amount of chipotle in adobo. Not too much! The first couple of pots of chili I made this year were too hot for anyone in the family but me to enjoy. Another alternative is using some (not a whole 1/4 cup!) chipotle chili powder. The Cholula adds flavor without adding a lot of heat. Using just run-of-the-mill chili powder, the chili has a little kick but is pretty kid-friendly.

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