Sam doesn’t eat beef but she likes nachos. She’s been requesting it for two weeks and I finally cooked a no-beef chili dish that we had last night with tortilla chips, lettuce and a special sauce in lieu of the traditional sour cream.
We also ate dinner in front of the TV — a practice I have never encouraged. When the girls were growing up, dinner was always on the dinner table with the TV OFF to encourage conversation without any distraction. I grew up eating dinner in front of the TV and I didn’t want that for my daughters.
But, last night, everything was a distraction. It had been raining for four days straight, all the cats were inside the house and they were playing with all the wrong things. Speedy and I were supposed to go to a wake before bringing Sam back to the condo but reports of floods in parts of Metro Manila made us decide to just stay home instead.
Everyone’s head and nerves seemed to be wired the wrong way except for two things — we wanted a good dinner and we wanted to resume our Fringe marathon. When Sam asked if we could just bring our food into the living room, I automatically said yes. So we ate our bowls of chili and tortilla chips while Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham did their thing.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 500 grams ground pork with a good amount of fat
- salt to taste
- sugar to taste
- pepper to taste
- 6 cloves of garlic minced
- 4 finger chilies chopped
- 2 bell peppers chopped
- 1 large onion chopped
- 6 tomatoes diced
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil finely sliced
- 4 to 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 1 can of baked beans (white, kidney, pinto or whatever variety you prefer)
- chopped herbs (I used a combination of parsley, oregano, tarragon and basil)
- 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
- 500 grams cream cheese
- 4 to 6 tablespoons milk
Heat the olive oil and butter in a pot. Add the ground pork and season with salt, sugar and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring to break up any lumps, until browned.
Add the minced garlic, chilis, bell peppers, onion and herbs. Cook, stirring often, until the onion pieces start to turn translucent.
Add the diced tomatoes and sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Continue cooking over high heat, with occasional stirring, until the tomatoes start to soften.
Stir the tomato paste in about half a cup of water. Pour into the pot. Stir. Add the beans with the liquid. Season with more salt, sugar and pepper.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Place the cream cheese in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Lightly beat the cheese to make a paste. Add the milk, little by little, stirring after each addition. When the mixture is smooth, stir in the grated garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve the pork chili: Place some shredded lettuce on one side of a shallow bowl. Arrange some tortilla chips beside the lettuce. Ladle the chili at the center. Top the chili with a dollop of the cheese sauce. Drizzle with Sriracha. Serve.