Tis the chili season.
This cold weather got our family craving a big bowlful of spicy and meaty pork and beef chili. And so that is what the whole family clan ate this past Sunday. And that is what I am recommending you eat this coming Sunday. It’s the Super Bowl after all.
This chili is very good. Perhaps not award-winning, but certainly good and hearty. And relatively easy to make if you allow yourself plenty of cooking time.
I read a lot of chili recipes over the past week or so. It is amazing to see what people put in chili. Chocolate, coffee, various crazy peppers that I could not find at the grocery store, lobster (ha ha—just kidding about that last one). I wanted to go fairly traditional with a bit of a twist. So off I went with my daughter to the supermarket on Saturday morning to purchase the ingredients for the mystery chili to be served to a whole bunch on Sunday for lunch.
I decided to pattern it on a texas style chili, although I did scoop up a poblano (not seen in any recipes I saw) and I decided to add both pork and beef. Also, upon getting home, I realized I was short on chili powder, so I threw in a pinch of cayenne (Recipe below has more chili powder than what I used).
I browned the meat first, discarding the excess oil after removing it from the pan. Then, I threw in the onions, jalepeno and poblano, sauteing this mix for about 5 minutes.
Next, in went the garlic for a minute, then some tomato paste and some spices. And then some broth, red beans, tomatoes and the browned beef. I brought it to a boil then slow-cooked it for 8 hours then switched it to warm overnight.
Admittedly, after this concoction had sat in the slow cooker for nearly a day, the consistency was not to my liking. Way too watery. I think I was a little heavy handed with the beef broth initially …
My brother in law (who has won chili a cooking cooking contest) recommended Sunday morning that we try corn meal. A quick Google search that hit on some random cooking blogs and various answers on things like e-how confirmed this was, in fact, one way to rescue a watery chili. Consequently, into the chili went the cornmeal on Sunday morning.
The result was that the cornmeal did, in fact, thicken the chili. But I should have just stuck with 1/4 cup, rather than adding a second 1/4 cup because it gave it an odd appearance (that it did not have after only adding 1/4 of a cup). The balding hunk of a critic was honest enough to tell me this after our guests had left and cleaned the pot (I was hoping no one noticed). But it tasted OK.
On Sunday morning, we also added just a bit of beer for complexity of flavor, which, of course, made it a little less thick … hmmm. Such are the ways of the Sunday morning chefs who have stayed up too late, gotten up too early and are interrupted by toddler cousins who like to bite and hurl toys at one another. Sigh.
Below, I would recommend adding just a 1/4 cup of the cornmeal from the beginning, just a 1/2 cup of beef stock and 1/2 cup beer. I think this will achieve the desired consistency and taste. Or at least I hope.
I gladly invite additional recommendations on how to make a chili that uses actual chunks of meat thick, without drying out the meat. And please do not recommend some recipe that includes hours and hours of labor intensive steps. I do not have the luxury of time.
I do recall I made quite a good chili a few years ago that met my specifications, but I have no idea what recipe my former self (mother of only one child and slightly more rested at the time) used.
Wow me, please, former self or whoever else is reading this!
Pork and Beef Chili
Author: Julie du Pont
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 35 mins
Cook time: 8 hours
Total time: 8 hours 35 mins Serves: 8-10
A Texas style pork and beef chili with a weekend table twist.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ lb of ¾ in cubed pork shoulder
- 1½ lb of ¾ in cubed beef brisket
- Salt and pepper to generously season meat
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 28 oz of diced tomatoes
- ½ cup beef broth
- 1 can red kidney beans
- ½ cup of beer (whatever catches your fancy).
- ¼ cup corn meal
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- Generously season meat with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in dutch oven or slow cooker with a braise function and brown meat over approximately 8-10 minutes.
- Remove meat from pan with slotted spoon and pour off excess fat from pan so that only 1 tbsp remains.
- Add onions and peppers to the pot and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
- Add in tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and stir until onions and peppers are fully coated.
- Add in tomatoes, beef broth, beans, beer and corn meal and bring to a boil. (Transfer to slow cooker at this point if using dutch oven.)
- Add back in beef and set slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
- Serve in large bowls and allow people to top with cilantro, sour cream and cheddar.
Julie du Pont is a Darien resident, mom and lawyer. She blogs about food and entertaining at weekend table. and on Darien Patch. See also the "Darien Food Blogs" and "Darien Food & Drink" topics pages.