So, it’s finally starting to feel like Fall around here, and with the slowly changing leaves (very slowly, because Dallas has been hovering in the mid-70s this week), it’s starting to look a bit like it, too. So, when my friend Miah posted this recipe for a pork chili simmered in pumpkin ale with chocolate, pumpkin, and spices, I thought “What on Earth? That sounds really odd.” And my next immediate thought was “. . . but Miah wouldn’t steer me wrong. . .”
And he absolutely didn’t. The combination of flavors this chili produced were nearly addicting. It’s a bit on the spicy side (so, I’ve been told; my sensitivity to spice has been reduced drastically in recent years) so it may be “Holy crap, my tongue! It burns!” spicy to those of you who haven’t been challenged to eat raw peppers as of late.
Also, while the garnish may not look exceedingly appetizing (and as a friend pointed out, a bit like melted Velveeta), it’s a really uplifting flavor and is delicious mixed in with the very complex sweet and spicy chili.
- 3-4lb pork shoulder, cubed into 1/2″ pieces
- 6 strips bacon, diced
- 2 bottles of pumpkin ale (1.5 for simmering, the other half to drink – I took this advice, and you should, too)
- 1.5 cans of pure pumpkin
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 yellow/orange bell pepper, diced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, diced
- 3 poblano peppers, diced
- 3-5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, large dice
- good handful fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 1 can creamed corn (or substitue 1/2 cup frozen corn)
- 1/4 cup chipotle chili powder
- 2-3 tsp of Mexican oregano + 1 tsp during simmering
- 1-3 tbsp pumpkin spice (or cinnamon/nutmeg; varies….season, taste, then adjust)
- 2 oz of dark or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
- flour for dusting pork
- Greek yogurt for garnish
Put a dutch oven on medium-high heat.
Cook the bacon in the dutch oven until most of the fat has been rendered off and the bacon has gone just crispy.
Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and reserve the rendered fat for later.
Trim and cut up your pork into 1/2″ cubes. Lightly flour and season with salt and pepper. Add a bit of the rendered bacon fat and in batches, start browning your meat.
Once browned, drain the leftover fat, and then add back the pork to the dutch oven.
Pour in 1.5 bottles of your favorite pumpkin ale.
Add in 1 tbsp of the Mexican oregano, chipotle chili powder, and chipotle peppers. Let the pork simmer covered for 30 minutes over medium heat.
When the pork has almost completed simmering, in a separate cast iron pan over medium heat, heat some of the reserved bacon fat. Add in all your peppers, garlic, and onion.
Season with a bit of salt and pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.
Saute it all for about 5-7 minutes. Then add in tomatoes, creamed corn (or frozen corn), and pumpkin puree (save a couple tbsp’s for the side). Cook for a few more min.
Pour the tomato/pumpkin mixture into the simmering pork.
Add in the rest of oregano. Add in rest of the spices and let simmer on med-low, covered, for an hour.
When done, add in your beans, pumpkin spice (or nutmeg and cinnamon very gradually), bacon, and chocolate, and simmer over low heat for another 20 minutes or so.
Mix those couple tbsp’s of pumpkin and some of the Greek yogurt together with a pinch of cinnamon.
Garnish with the pumpkin/yogurt mixture, perhaps some chili, and some thyme leaves and serve.