Friday, December 10, 2010

Quick Chili with Pulled Pork, Smoked Peppers & Black Beans

Quick Chili is practically an oxymoron, but I like to keep ingredients on hand to whip up a batch on demand if need be. True chili should be cooked slow, letting all the flavors of the spices infuse into the meat and beans.

Like barbecue, chili fires a passion in people that can beat the heat in the chili pot itself. Some swear no bean should enter the pot. Others declare beef to be the only meat allowed. Everyone has their own idea of what spices and flavors make the best batch.

This chili is an excellent cheater chili. It's not what you'll enter into the chili cook-off, but it's a great recipe for when you think, "Mmm. Chili sounds good," at 4pm, instead of 10am.

Of course, your larder may not contain the same things as mine. I almost always have the following ready to go:

Leftover smoked pulled pork, in freezer. Leftover brisket or other meats work well too.

Smoked peppers (or whole dried). We smoke a mix of habaneros, poblanos and jalepenos at Smokin' Pete's BBQ for our barbecue sauce. Smoking the peppers gives them another boost of flavor, while retaining their natural flavors. Good quality chilis are the most important part of creating the flavor base.

Canned beans. Black beans, kidney, or navy. Beans are the biggest time constraint with chili and the best way to cheat when time won't allow an all day affair.

Everything else is an accessory to the chili pot. As long as you have the power trio above, you can make this quick chili. Even though I'd have a hard time making chili without cumin and Mexican oregano, I'm of the opinion that chili can be made with just about any combination of spices.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T ground cumin
2 T smoked or dried chilis, preferrably ground by hand, in mortar and pestil or coffee grinder
2 cloves garlic
2 T Mexican oregano
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp ground ginger (optional)
1 tsp tumeric (optional)
12 oz pulled pork
1-2 cans black beans (or kidney)
1 cup stock
1 small can of diced green chilis
1/4 cup tomato paste
Grated cheese (optional)

1. Sautee onion in olive oil. Add spices and stir until onion cooks nearly clear.
2. Add pulled pork, beans and green chilis. Stir until ingredients incorporated. Turn down to medium low.
3. Add stock and tomato paste and simmer for 30 minutes or more.
4. Serve with grated cheese or whatever else you like with your chili.

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