I loved the TV show Chopped. The arrogant banter, the praise followed by the one thing that didn’t go so well, the walk of shame, all the frantic running around and the strange combination of ingredients makes for great entertainment. However, my most favorite thing about chopped is the chef’s ability to create something out of a random assortment of ingredients. I always think “what would I do?” The answer is probably make a fool out of myself, but I find the challenge fascinating. So, with normal ingredients and no time constraints I found myself in a similar situation last night.
In my pantry I had ½ of an onion, garlic, one carrot, parsley, a variety of canned beans, canned tomatoes, and pork shoulder.
Pork Chili. I’ve never made chili with anything other than beef, but why couldn’t I substitute one protein for another?
I began by cubing and searing my pork shoulder. I removed from the pan when they were properly browned on all sides. I added my onion and carrot to the pot along with 2 TBS chili powder, 1 TBS cumin and ½ tsp cayenne. My one year old son, who actually likes spicy food, will be eating it so I didn’t want to make it too spicy. Anyway, I let that cook until the veggies began to soften and then added 3, and one baby, garlic clove to the pot. I cooked that for a few seconds until fragrant. Then I added my meat back to the pot, gave it a good stir to coat it in the spices and added one can of diced tomatoes, one can of chili beans, one can of tomato paste and about ½ cup of water. I brought the entire pot to a boil, put the lid on and let it simmer until the meat was cooked through and tender.
I did have to go to the store to pick up a few extras like avocado and some canned corn which I threw in to the chili when I got home.
It wasn’t as rich as a beef chili, but it packed the same punch and I rather enjoyed the larger chunks of meat. Overall, it was pretty tasty.