The Recipes

Pork and Two Bean Chili

I used my slow cooker for the very first time tonight!  I know there are tons of easy recipes out there, but most of them call for carmelizing your protein in a skillet or pot first and then transferring it to the slow cooker.  I'm of the opinion that if I already have food in the pot - including all of the yummy brown bits in the bottom - why would I dirty a crock pot as well as the pot?  However, today I learned that cooking a stew overnight is an excellent reason to do just that very thing.

Pork and Two Bean Chili


Ingredients:

- 1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1-in. pieces
- 1 14.5-oz. can of black-eyed peas
- 1 14.5-oz. can of garbanzo beans
- 1 T. of tomato paste
- 1 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, grated
- 1 chili in adobo, minced (or grated if it is frozen, which is where I store mine)
- 1 palmful of chili powder
- 1 T. cumin, ground
- 1 T. coriander, ground
- 1 T. smoked paprika
- 1 bottle of beer of your choosing (I used an amber ale)
- 3/4 c. chicken stock
- salt
- pepper
- olive oil

I like to toast my spices and then grind them myself, but feel free to use previously ground spices.  If you are using cumin and coriander seeds, heat them for 1-2 minutes in a dry sautee pan.  Transfer them to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.  Grind the seeds, then mix in the paprika and chili powder.

Season the pork with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 T. of olive oil in a skillet.  Add the pork and sear on all sides.  Remove the pork and transfer it to the slow cooker.  Deglaze the pan with the beer, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom.  Stir in the tomato paste for one minute to let it dissolve into the beer.  Mix in the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, spice mixture, and chili in adobo.

Add the onion and both cans of beans to the crock pot.  Cover with the tomato mixture, adding in as much or little stock as you like to achieve the consistency you want.  I added just about 3/4 of a cup.  Make sure everything is combined, then cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

Garnish your chili any way you like: raw onion, scallions, cilantro, avocado, or cheese are all good options.