When one hears the word “chili”, the thing that comes to mind is the stew called chili con carne. It’s almost as though “chili” were the nickname of chili con carne, a spicy dish that usually include ground or minced beef, tomato sauce and kidney beans.
On the other hand, when one hears “pork and beans”, the image that forms in the mind is a stew made with white navy beans and a few pieces of fatty pork in a runny sweet tomato sauce. Nine times out of ten, the stew comes out of a can.
In short, most people associate “chili” and “pork and beans” with the commercialized American versions.
Chili con carne has so many variations and the inclusion of beans is a bone of contention rather than a standard.
The pork and bean stew which derives its origin from Spanish cuisine via Mexico has not always come out of a can. It is a real and very traditional peasant stew and there is more than one version.
I have combined these two comforting stews in my pork and sausage chili.
Cubes of pork belly, slices of smokey Spanish chorizo, kidney beans, oregano, chilies and stewed tomatoes are simmered for an hour and a half. The result is a chunky stew with a little but very thick sauce that made a wonderful lunch on a rainy day.
- Cut the pork belly into one-inch cubes.
- Thinly slice the chorizo.
- Roughly chop the onion, mince the garlic and finely chop the chilies.
- Strip the oregano leaves from the stems.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the pork and sausage slices. Cook until the pork cubes start to brown along the edges.
- Add the onions, garlic, chilies, cumin and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion bits start to turn soft.
- Pour in the stewed tomatoes and broth. Stir. Taste. Add a bit more salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for an hour.
- Taste the sauce. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Add sugar to balance the flavor.
- Add the kidney beans.
- Continue simmering for another 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened considerably.
- Serve the pork and sausage chili hot with rice or bread.
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