Onward!

March 7, 2006 by

The key to this chili is proportion. If you are the kind of cook who needs to measure everything out, this will drive you around the bend. This is all done by eye and what you like. The way I make it, there is a lot of meat. So, if you like a very substantial chili this is the one for you. Each time I make it, I put in much more meat than I think is a good idea and it turns out perfect. Plus, your butcher will love you. Another note about the pork roast. Buy the best you can. This dish will not save or mask sub-par meat. This time around, I bought beautiful organic boneless pork roast. 10.5 pounds of it. 4 roasts. The butcher was very happy to have the crazy lady in his shop. If you do make as much as I did (it is easily scaled up or down), you will have enough for a party as well as enough for your freezer. This chili does freeze well, just write the date in the container for safety! Also, check the spices when you have reheated it, it may need a bit of perking up, which is easy enough to do.

Roast Pork and Black Bean Chili

10.5 lbs. high quality boneless pork roast (organic if you can)

6 cups black beans rinsed, inspected and soaked over night in water.

6 large cloves garlic, 2 for cooking with the beans and 4 minced or grated for saute

4 large red onions, chopped

2 large white onions, chopped

2 28oz cans of pickled cactus (nopalitos), drained and chopped. Often cilantro and peppers accompany the nopalitos in the container, I just toss them out.

16 oz of diced green chilis (canned)

Red chili peppers of your choice, to your desired heat level. Chopped or crushed. I used 2 dried Thai Dragon chilis and 3 Cayenne chilis. This is a lot but not for this amount of chili.

Cumin (Most)

Chili powder (More)

Salt & pepper (Some)

Cinnamon (Less)

Cardamom (Even less)

Nice to have:

Rasp or fine grater for garlic. You could use a garlic press too.

Heavy duty cookie sheet, if using disposable roasting pan.

Meat thermometer

A few notes about the construction of this chili. It is very forgiving as you can add and subtract at your heart’s desire. It tastes best when started several days before you want to serve it. Saturday night? I would start soaking (or just boiling forever) the beans on Wednesday. My time line usually looks like this:

Wednesday

Rinse and inspect beans. Put the beans in 16 quart (or larger) pot with at least 6 inches of water and two large smashed cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and cook until the beans are tender. While the beans are cooking away I usually add about 2 tablespoons of Better than Bouillon , the beef base. Yes, we are cooking pork and I use beef. You may need to add more liquid as the beans cook. This liquid will become the “gravy” for your chili. Go for it!

In a large straight sided saute pan (or something similar), on medium heat, first lay down a fairly generous amount of olive oil. Once this heats up add first your garlic and crushed or chopped chili peppers and diced green chilis. I use a rasp or fine grater for the garlic to get the consistency I want, I want it to dissolve and still taste like garlic. After a minute or two I add the red and white onions. Sweat these and then when they are sufficiently soft and translucent add the chopped cactus. Lower heat and let everybody get to know each other for a while.

Then mix your spices. You want about 2 and a half cups total for all the spices combined. The rating system I used above should give you an idea about the ratios I used. Heaviest on the cumin and then less for each one listed. It is better to err on the side of caution and add less. You can always add, but never subtract.

Take about 2 cups of the spice mixture and set aside. Add the last half cup to the sauteing/sweating onion nopaltos mixture.

Close the operation down for the night. Seal it all up and you can start again tomorrow.

Thursday

Take your boneless pork roast(s), your pot of beans and your onion, cactus, and garlic mixture (which you have put into a bowl & covered the night before, no need to put such a large pan in the fridge) out of the refrigerator.

Let the pork rest come to room temperature and put your spices in a big, shallow baking pan. A 9×13 Pyrex would be ideal. Put on your gloves before handling raw meat! Pick up roasts one at a time and roll them in the spice mix, on all sides and on both ends. Rub them into the roast and repeat the rolling and the rubbing. You are after a very fragrant and highly spiced pork roast.

Turn beans on low, add onion, cactus and spice mixture and begin to bring it up to heat.

Preheat oven to 425. Take a sturdy roasting pan, or a disposable on with a heavy duty cookie sheet underneath it, and place spiced roasts in the pan, giving as wide a berth as possible to each roast. Cook until internal roast temperature is 140 degrees. The pork will not be fully cooked, so don’t eat it at this point, please. Let the pork rest about 10-15 minutes. Slice roast in half and then each half into quarters. Then slice each piece into generous bite size pieces. Put all the chopped pork roast into the bean mixture, stir to distribute. Cook on medium low for about an hour. This will fully cook the pork.

Make sure you properly clean up after handling the undercooked pork. You are done for today.

Friday

Take the really heavy pot of chili out of the fridge, and gently warm on a medium low heat. Once it has warmed up, taste it. How is it? Today is the day to add more stuff if you want. Does it need more beans? If so, cook them separately and add them ASAP. You want them to blend in and not taste like an afterthought. Do you want more onion? Chop and sweat some more, and get them in ASAP. The 3rd day of the chili (today) is the most important day. This is truly the day all the flavors marry. So adjust spices, add more onion, chili peppers, what ever you want, or not- it is your chili.

After all your adjustments are done, you are done for the day.

Saturday

Take the chili out of the refrigerator. Heat it up on medium, stirring occasionally. Once it is to temperature, you may notice some extra liquid on the top. I usually ladle most of it off. The consistency you want is stew, not soup.

You are done! Enjoy! And you may win your chili cook-off like I did last year. Or you may lose by one vote, like I did this year.

One Response to Onward!

  1. kt

    ONE STINKING VOTE???
    You was ROBBED, baby!!!
    I will be cooking this soon and often, as we have many, many nopalitos aqui in the SW.
    I am drooling.