Texas Be Damned, this is the Best, Most Super Bowl of Chili I Ever Made

Today I am going to tackle a big bowl of  Black Bean Chili with Chipotle Braised Pulled Pork. It’s simply the best chili I ever made. But I gotta warn ya, mine is made with non-traditional ingredients–  there are even poblano chilies in it. Oh, I serve it with queso fresca, salsa and a spicy Mexican crema. Just so you know, it’s got beans in it too. Black beans.

For those of you in Texas, I realize I may have gotten your hackles up. You may have dern near felt your heart stop. But put it back in your pants before you high tail it out of here. Because dawggonnitt, I realize that there are very few foods that inspire as much rhetoric as chili. Pizza is one, Barbercue (capital B extra R) is another… there are rules for these foods. And shootfireall to hale if you are gonna let  some Cali boy try to hornswaggle you about God’s great gift to Texas. But I have started and am smackdab inda middlofit, so you may as well let me finish. So quit your fussin. I got more to say about chili– my way.

But first I need to say that there’s another sacred cow I intend to slaughter (or perhaps I should say pig?). It has to do with a certain sporting event that’s right around the corner. This chili is not intended to be the Best Super Bowl Chili Recipe Ever! Of course I realize that the Super Bowl is the second largest food holiday in America, and many of you may be looking for the Perfect Game Day Food. But well, frankly– football bores me all to hale, so I am just not going to participate in Super Sunday this year. Besides I don’t speak football nearly as well as I do Texan. And though I am serving this really Super Bowl of Chili with Beer– and you may have noticed my fluency in SEO and HTML–  I can’t bring myself to toss around sporting hyberbole in an editorially entertaining way! So get your Game On and try this chili… What? This is how I talk. Really! Insert you own tags and links here if you don’t believe me.

Black Bean Chili with Chipotle Braised Pulled Pork

serves 12 CLICK here for a printable recipe

smuttynose porter pairing from Sippity Sup
  • 4 T vegetable oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 12 clv garlic, peeled and minced
  • 7 T chipotle chili powder
  • 1 1⁄2 T ground cumin
  • 16 c water, or more
  • 2 lb dried black beans, rinsed
  • 3 t dried mexican oregano
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 6 fresh poblano chilis, seeded and chopped
  • 3 lb boneless pork butt (shoulder)
  • 1 c white onion, minced
  • 1 (7‑oz) can salsa verde
  • 1⁄2 c cilantro leaves, minced
  • 2 c sour cream
  • 2 canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, or to taste
  • queso fresca, to taste
  • avocado chunks, optional
  • plenty of warm corn tortillas on the side

Prepare the chili: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add chili powder and ground cumin and stir 1 minute. Add 16 cups water, black beans, dried oregano, and orange zest. Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until black beans are begin to get tender, about 1/2 hour. Add poblano chilis and season chili to taste with salt, adding more water by 1/2 cupfuls if too thick, and stirring frequently, about 1/2 hour longer. Season chili to taste with more salt. DO AHEAD: Chili can be made to this point up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

pulled pork with black beans and chilisPrepare the pork: Cut the pork butt into several large, fist-sized, chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add pork to skillet and cook until browned, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer pork and any juices to the pot with the black bean chili. Leave the pork chunks whole.

Bring the beans and pork to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer about 2 to 3 hours covered, adding more water by 1/2 cupfuls if too thick, and stirring gently to keep the meat intact. At this point check the meat for doneness, it should be cooked through, with all of the collagen and connective tissue dissolved and practically falling apart.

Move the meat to a cutting board and using a fork, pull it into large shredded chunks. Move it to a serving bowl and keep warm until ready to serve.

Make the salsa: Mix the white onion, salsa verde and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Make the crema: Stir sour cream and minced chipotle chiles with a bit of the adobo sauce in medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve: Divide black bean chili among bowls. Top with pork, salsa, chipotle crema, queso fresca and avocado (if using). Serve with warm corn tortillas on the side. You may alternatively mix the shredded pork straight into the chili and serve it all mixed together.


Greg Henry