Friday, October 21, 2011

Where business gets done

Believe it or not, I've never had a bowl of chili before. Yea, I know, totally weird, right?

Chili has always been one of those dishes I figured I wouldn't much like. Beans are okay, but the idea of creating a dish where they are the star, always seemed kind of boring to me. Spicy food is not really my thing. And, is chili a meal, or is it soup? I've never really been able to tell. From what I know it's just an ingredient in nachos, one I sometimes opt to have put on the side.

But, boy, have I been missing out...

Smoky Slow Cooker Chili (from Cooking Light)
Serves 8
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup lager-style beer (such as Budweiser)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tomatillos, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, drained
  • 1 (7 3/4-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 smoked ham hock (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar
  • 8 lime wedges

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ground pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to slightly crumble. Drain well. Transfer pork to an electric slow cooker.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add pork shoulder; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Transfer pork to slow cooker.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper, and chili pepper; sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer; cook 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Add chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, ground black pepper, tomatillos, bay leaves, plum tomatoes, pinto beans, tomato sauce, and ham hock to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaves and ham hock; discard. Stir in sugar. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups chili into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon green onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve each serving with 1 lime wedge.


  1. That is an AMAZING first photo, Erin! I don't know how you lived for so long without chili. I ate it probably five times this week!

  2. You certainly have been missing out! But it looks like that chili certainly made up for it--looks amazing!!

  3. wonderful colors on your pictures!