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Smoky Pork Chili with Black-Eyed Peas

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 2 quarts

Servings: 6

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

Nutritional Information

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


Make the sofrito

  • 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 9×13-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.

This is delicious served with Classic Buttermilk Cornbread.


Sofrito is a flavoring base made from aromatic vegetables and herbs. Roasting these ingredients intensifies them.


Rate or Review

Reviews (9 reviews)

  • Brandy1984 | 12/11/2019

    About how much sofrito does this make?

  • srlh62 | 10/08/2016

    Hello there sweet thing; where have you been all of my life????? Truly special and an absolute keeper. Husband I had grown disenchanted with our go-to chili. Saw this recipe either on FB or in my e-mail inbox and knew I had to do something with the last of my plum tomatoes. The lovely local Latino store had the anchos, but not the New Mexico, so substituted gaujillos. Canned black eyed peas were used and sodium free broth. This takes time and it is well worth it. The bonus . . . El Salvadoran crema on top DROOL.

  • kathrynje | 12/08/2015

    Great chili base! We love it with the pork and black-eyed peas as written, but have also made it using pintos, or used bison instead of pork, or half and half bison and pork, etc. It is very versatile, and makes a chili base with a nice depth of flavor and just enough heat. t makes a mean Frito pie as well!

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