Slow Cooker Smoky Chili
This hearty slow cooker pork chili with pinto beans gets its smoky flavor from the combination of chili powder, cumin, oregano. tomatillos, and Mexican-style hot tomato sauce.
1 pound ground pork
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups chopped onion
1 3/4 cups chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup lager-style beer (such as Budweiser)
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tomatillos, quartered
2 bay leaves
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, drained
1 (7 3/4-ounce) can Mexican hot-style tomato sauce (such as El Paso)
1 smoked ham hock (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 ounces crumbled queso fresco (about 1/2 cup)
8 lime wedges
1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ground pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to slightly crumble. Drain well. Transfer pork to an electric slow cooker.
2. Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add pork shoulder; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Transfer pork to slow cooker.
3. Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer; cook 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Add chili powder, and next 9 ingredients (through ham hock) to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaves and ham hock; discard. Stir in sugar. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups chili into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon green onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve each serving with 1 lime wedge.
Note: You can also cook the chili in a slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours. For cooking chili on the stovetop, use a total of 12 ounces beer and simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the pork shoulder is tender.
Pork shoulder is usually sold in weights greater than a pound. Ask your butcher to trim off the amount you need, or look for pork shoulder steaks. Serve with corn bread.
This recipe has been retested for Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight, 2012
Mike Wilson, Cooking Light