Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pork and Pepper Chili with Very Special Corn Bread

I made a huge pot of Chili this past weekend with the intention of enjoying this comforting hot dish while I watched the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night, but that didn't happen. The good news is when you plan a fantastic meal around a sporting event even if your team loses you can still have lots of fun eating!

I made this Chili with ground pork instead of beef and ground the pork myself from 2 nice thick center-cut boneless pork chops. The ground pork in the grocery store often is very fatty and the color looks 'off' to me. It is so simple to grind this or any meat and that ensures you know what you have. I ground the pork in my little, but powerful Cuisinart mini-max--takes only a few seconds, but food processor or hand meat grinder works well, too.

4 cups assorted beans, I used kidney, small whites, and shell beans, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
2 center-cut boneless pork chops equalling about 1 pound
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
7 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
2 medium onions, also chopped in the mini-max or diced finely
4 cloves garlic, same as above
4 Tbsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
3 tsp. Smoky Paprika chipolte seasoning*
1/2 tsp.+ Hot pepper flakes
4 small jalapenos, seeded and chopped finely. I used jarred, but fresh are even better.
10 small mini Bell Peppers, various colors, chopped finely

Clean and rinse the beans. Check for small pebbles. Cover beans with water and let soak for at least 4 hours, but you can soak them before you go to bed the night before. Check beans every so often to make sure they are still under water. Obviously if you soak overnight you won't do this, but just make sure you give them lots of water before you head off to bed.
Heat 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large pot until bubbling. Add the onion and garlic and 1 Tbsp. of the salt. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring to coat onion and garlic thoroughly with oil. Turn the heat to high and add the ground pork stirring to incorporate all.
Reduce heat back to medium and let cook for about 5 minutes. Add 7 Tbsp. tomato paste, 2 Tbsp. Chili Powder, the last 3 Tbsp. of Salt, 1 tsp. Cumin, Smoky Paprika, 1/2 tsp, Pepper flakes (The amount of pepper depends first, on how much heat you like and second, how hot are your pepper flakes. Mine were very hot from last summer's cayenne crop so 1/2 tsp. was just right.) Stir to combine all the spices well.
Next drain the beans in a collander and shake a few times to get most of the water out. Add the drained beans to the Chili pot and add about 4 cups of water, to cover.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 1 hour stirring occasionally. Add more water if the beans start to dry out.
Seed and cut the little Bell peppers and the jalapenos and add this to the Chili and cook for another 1/2 hour or until beans are tender.  By now the Chili should be quite thick.

Check seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. This may sound like a lot of salt, but remember you have 4 cups of beans to season plus the meat. I like to make this Chili the day before I am serving to really let the flavors come together. Just re-heat when ready to eat. Top with Monterey Pepper Jack or any other cheese you like.

*Here is the Victoria Taylor brand Smoky Paprika Chipolte Seasoning I used. I bought this at Home Goods for half price, but am sure you can get it online or at a specialty store.

I served my Chili with a dense and delicious Corn Bread. The recipe came from the Dorsett Inn in Dorsett, VT (www.dorsettinn.com.) My husband and I stayed at this quintessential New England Inn a few years ago. It is charming and the food fabulous! I did make a couple changes to the recipe, which I always believe is cooks prerogative.


1 cup Corn Meal
1 cup Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Double-Acting Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Sugar
2 tsp. ground Cumin
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup Sour Cream (I used non-fat Greek style Plain Yogurt.)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup Milk
1 cup grated Monterey Pepper Jack (recipe calls for 1/2 cup Swiss)
1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes
3 small mini Bell Peppers, seeded and chopped finely
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped finely
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 cup corn kernels

Preheat oven to 370 degrees. In a large bowl sift together the corn meal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cumin. In a separate bowl whisk together the sour cream (or yogurt), butter, and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly. Stir in hot pepper flakes, Bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, onion and corn kernels and mix well until all ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into a greased 2 qt. round or 9" square baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

That's all for today.  I have a whole year to think about
next year's playoff game menu!...Any suggestions?
I look forward to talking with you again about fabulous food, creative cooking, and more!

Thank you for following:  www.cookwithcindy.com
Here I am ready for the stage at the Vienna Opera house...Being silly is very serious business in the kitchen and out!
Until next time, happy cooking!

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