On paper, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like this John Makes a Stew a Week Winter (Working Title) dish (mostly because I’m kind of picky about chili). Turns out I didn’t need to worry – probably the best chili ever made in our house. John halved a Michael Symon recipe (who has five pounds of pork cheeks?) and substituted pork shoulder (which in itself took me four grocery store stops), which the recipe encourages.
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin (John used taco seasoning because we’re out of cumin, apparently)
2.5 ish pounds pork shoulder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound slab bacon, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and very finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 bottle porter (we used a Cherry one)
1 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cups canned whole Italian tomatoes, crushed
1 canned chipotles in adobo, seeded and minced (this step is a pain and I’d probably just leave the seeds because I’m lazy and like spicy, but John did it)
1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed
1 small cinnamon stick
Shredded smoked cheddar cheese (we used regular), cilantro leaves and crème fraîche (we used sour cream), for serving
In a large bowl, combine the coriander, paprika and cumin and toss with the pork. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat some oil. Add half of the pork and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate. Add more oil and brown the remaining pork over moderate heat. Transfer the pork to the plate.
Add the bacon to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and slightly crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Return the pork to the casserole along with any accumulated juices. Add the ale, chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotles, black-eyed peas and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat until the meat and beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Season the chili with salt and pepper. Spoon off the fat from the surface and discard the cinnamon stick. Serve the chili in bowls with toppings on the side.