Patti Mitchem’s Pork & White Bean Chili
This Pork & White Bean Chili takes some time, but if you soak the beans ahead of time (or use canned beans), you can pull it together without a lot of fuss. And it’s well worth the effort. With tender pieces of pork shoulder, white beans, sweet squash, and corn, this chili is a hearty, deeply flavorful winter dish. It’s served sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese and chopped cilantro.
Total Time: 3-1/2 hours
Hands-On Time: 1 hour
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2-1/2 pounds pork shoulder (“pork butt”)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin)
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
- 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 medium-size butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and chopped into small 1/2-inch chunks (about 1 pound flesh total)
- 4 fresh poblano or Anaheim chiles, roasted and chopped, or 2 4-ounce cans green chiles, drained and diced (see “Note”)
- 6 cups canned white beans (drained and rinsed) or presoaked dried white beans (see “Note”)
- 2 cups frozen corn
- Dash hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- Garnishes: 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled, or grated Monterey jack, and 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat your oven to 325°. In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons of salt, plus pepper, allspice, and cloves. Trim any excess fat from the pork; then cut lengthwise into slabs about 1½ inches thick. Sprinkle all over with the salt mixture.
Put the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add 2 or 3 slabs of pork (don’t crowd the pan) and brown well on both sides; then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining pork. Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the oil from the Dutch oven, and add the onions, garlic, cumin, and remaining teaspoon of salt. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes (and soaked dried beans if using), pork, and broth; cover, and transfer to the oven to cook until the meat is very tender, 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Chop the meat, or shred it using two forks; then return it to the pot and set it over medium-high heat. Add the squash, stir well, and cook 10 minutes. Add the chiles, beans (if using canned), and corn. Add a dash of hot sauce, if you like. Bring to a simmer, cover partially, and cook until the squash is tender and the flavors are combined, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Serve in bowls topped with some cheese and cilantro.
To infuse this Pork & White Bean Chili with a richer flavor, use fresh chiles and roast them on all sides under a broiler until blistered all over; then seal in a paper or plastic bag for 5 minutes to steam. The skin will slip off easily. Remove stems and seeds, and chop. If you want to use dried beans in the recipe, soak them overnight before using and add them with the tomatoes instead of at the end of cooking.