Friday, January 25, 2013

Green Chili with Pork

When it's cold outside soup sounds like the best thing in the whole wide world.  And I'm not usually a chili fan, but there is nothing more seasonally appropriate than a bowl of steaming hot (both in temperature and in spice level) chili when it is insanely cold out.  This week was absolutely perfect for chili.  Since I don't like pinto beans (or a ton of beans of any sort) in my chili I usually end up defaulting to a chicken or turkey chili with white beans, but I thought this green chili with pork recipe sounded like an interesting bean-free alternative when I stumbled across it sometime last winter.  And it was interesting.  I wish the flavor of the cilantro came through a little more clearly, but the chili had a nice spice level and the flavor overall was quite good provided that you like pork (it was quite porky).  I loved the substitution of hominy for beans because in my humble opinion, hominy and corn are way better than beans.  You might or might not agree with me there, but beans just don't do it for me.  I think you could totally lighten this chili up by adding more vegetables - some zucchini would have worked nicely.  Another bonus for me was that the chili didn't need to simmer for hours and hours to develop its flavors, although a little more simmering wouldn't have hurt.  Overall it was a nice hearty winter dinner!
Recipe after the jump!

Green Chili with Pork
Adapted from Gourmet
February 2007

half of a large sweet yellow onion, quartered
2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed and quartered, including seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 cups homemade chicken broth
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb ground pork
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 (14- to 15-oz) can white hominy (also called pozole), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
toasted pepitas (for garnish)
crumbled queso fresco or cotija (for garnish)
lime wedges (for garnish)
Puree onion, chiles, and garlic with 1/2 cup chicken broth in a blender.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown pork, stirring and breaking up clumps, just until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot (our pork was incredibly lean and there was no fat to pour off).

Add remaining 2 tbsp oil to pot and heat over moderately high heat until hot, then carefully add puree (it will spatter), cumin, and salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened and most of liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add pork, hominy, cilantro, and remaining 1 1/2 cups broth and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt or cumin.  Serve chili sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and cheese and with a lime wedge.

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