Pork or Chicken Chili – an alternative to Beef.
Traditionally chili con carne is made with beef, but many people are shying away from beef for a variety of reasons and don’t often think of pork or chicken as an alternative. The issue is with the fat content. In my opinion chili needs a little fat to have the right flavor and texture but pork and chicken are very lean. So you need to augment and I do so with butter. Here’s my approach.
- Approx. 300g (1/2 lb.) Pork mince (or chicken mince)
- Approx. 1/2 cup each red, yellow, green capsicum (bell pepper) or any combination thereof, chopped
- 1 med. onion, chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 400g (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 420g (15 oz.) can chili beans (or rinsed cooked pinto beans with chili powder to taste, or if not chili powder approx. 1/4 tsp. each paprika, cumin, garlic)
- Chili flakes to taste (note 1)
- Bouquet Garni of fresh herbs (note 2)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar (optional, if you don’t like the slight bitterness of tomato)
- 1 Tbl. cooking oil
- 3 Tbl. butter
note 1: Chili flakes are optional but personally I think chili should have a little kick. I like things spicier than my wife does so I try to keep it toned down. I add about 1/8 tsp (not very much) hot chili flakes and that’s fine for both of us. Adjust to your liking.
note 2: The bouquet should be fresh herbs if possible. I use thyme, parsley and rosemary – but whatever you like will do. If you must use dried try about 1/4 tsp each.
Sprinkle both sides of the pork with salt & pepper and allow to come to room temperature.
Add oil and butter to a skillet and heat until hot. Sauté onions and peppers over med-high heat for about 15 mins or until onions just start to brown. Reduce heat slightly and add garlic and cook a few minutes more.
Remove from pan leaving as much butter and oil as possible. Add ground pork and cook until browned.
Add all ingredients into pan, stir, and bring to a simmer.
Cover and cook over low heat for at least one hour. Remove Bouquet.
Chili is one of those dishes that gets better when it reheats so I sometimes cook it early, stick it in the fridge, and just pull it out and reheat it when it’s time to eat.
Serve in bowls and top with cheese if you prefer.
Makes me hungry again! (good thing there are there are some leftovers, that will make a nice lunch).