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Smoky Pork Chili with Black-Eyed Peas

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Serves 6

Yields about 2 quarts

  • by Donald Link from Fine Cooking
    Issue 113

The moderately spicy chiles for this smoky pork and black-eyed pea chili were chosen for their flavor, not their heat, which means you can appreciate all of the flavors in the bowl.

For the sofrito
  • 6 plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 large or 3 medium jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, halved, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 dried New Mexico chiles
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
For the chili
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2-1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 4 cups fresh or thawed frozen blackeyed peas (or three 15-oz. cans, drained and rinsed)
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for serving
Make the sofrito
Tip:
Sofrito is a flavoring base made from aromatic vegetables and herbs. Roasting these ingredients intensifies them.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F.

Put the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeños, onion, bell pepper, vinegar, oil, oregano, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a 9x13-inch roasting pan and stir to combine. Roast, stirring every 15 minutes and scraping the bottom of the pan, until collapsed and very soft, about 45 minutes. Set aside.

While the vegetables roast, heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the ancho and New Mexico chiles in the pan and toast on both sides until blistered, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Put the chiles in a medium bowl, cover with 2 cups warm water (if they rise to the top, weight them down with a bowl), and soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve set over a bowl; reserve the soaking water.

Stem, seed, and coarsely chop the chiles. Put them in a food processor with the chipotle chiles and the roasted vegetables and purée until the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside.

Make the chili

Heat the vegetable oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork, cumin, chili powder, and 1 Tbs. plus 1ƒ tsp. salt; cook, stirring, until the meat is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sofrito and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the reserved chile water, chicken broth, and fresh black-eyed peas. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 45 minutes (if you’re using canned or frozen black-eyed peas, simmer the meat and broth for 30 minutes, add the peas, and continue to cook for 10 minutes longer). Season to taste with salt. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and scallions sprinkled over the top.

You can make the chili up to 4 days ahead; keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat gently before serving.

Serving Suggestions

This is delicious served with Classic Buttermilk Cornbread.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 660; Fat (g): 34; Fat Calories (kcal): 310; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 50; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): 42; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6; Sodium (mg): 1230; Cholesterol (mg): 110; Fiber (g): 11;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made for New Year's. Great! I changed out the chiles according to what I had, but still great. Used canned black-eyed peas. Would be easy enough to quick cook then add. Fresh Black-eyed peas are fresh. Usually shelled, but occasionally in the shell at the farmers' market in the south in summer only. Take 30 minutes to cook. Not the same as dried, so be careful. You can also get them frozen. I served with collards, too.

Absolutely love this recipe! It's a keeper, for sure. I'm not a big fan of ground pork, so used pork butt instead. I made the sofrito the night before and cooked the pork butt in the crockpot with one cup of the chili water (I made three cups instead of two cups in the directions) then threw the rest of the ingredients in the crockpot in the morning so all the favors had plenty of time to meld. I'm making for New Year's Day tomorrow, so I'm adding some shredded collards. (In the South, it's good luck to eat pork, black-eyed peas and collards on New Year's Day to ensure luck and prosperity in the upcoming year.) I also serve it with jalapeno cornbread.

Wow! This chili is flavor packed and has a spicy kick to boot! Love the black eyed peas(I used canned). The chili was much better the second day. Also, I will be making this sofrito to use as a base in other dishes.

OUR NEW FAVORITE CHILI! Wonderful blend of flavors, pork really adds taste to chili and black eyed peas were divine. I soaked the beans prior to adding to the chili. Don't forget to top off with sour cream and scallions. We don't normally like sour cream but LOVED the flavor it added to this chili. We'll be making this dish again and again.

This is a question, rather than a rating. Are "fresh" black-eyed peas the same as dried black-eyed peas? All I could find were dried ones, and I've cooked them...not sure whether to go buy more dried or put the cooked ones in the chili for the called-for 45 minutes...

I made this during a weekend for a family of six we're helping with a few meals during at time of illness. I liked the overall results but had a few comments about the instructions. First, there should be a warning about using gloves when handling the chiles as the juices can cause skin irritation. Second, I used fresh black-eyed peas and, as the instructions did not say to soak them in water beforehand, put them into the ingredients at the recommended time. The beans never got to a tender state even though I left the pot in for an extra 20 minutes or so beyond the recommended 45 minutes. With all the fresh, dried and canned chiles that were called for, I thought it would be hotter but it wasn't and the kids in the family thought it was great. The sour cream and scallions recommended as toppings brought out the depth of flavors. I made the cornbread from the November 2010 Fine Cooking and it went well. I would make this again but soak the beans beforehand.

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