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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bon Appetit's Pork and Beef Chili

I've clearly got chili on my mind. This time, I adapted a Bon Appetit recipe, which originated at the now-defunct Parker Ranch Grill in Kamuela, Hawaii.

I re-ordered some of the steps, toasted the spices, used a bottle of dark beer instead of water, used dark chocolate instead of sugar, added black pepper, used less tomato paste and subbed good quality canned tomatoes instead of fresh. I also omitted the cilantro and black beans, mostly because I forgot. I think black beans would enhance this dish, but not so sure about cilantro.

The result? A rich, smoky chili that starts off sweet and eases you into the spice, which lingers a bit. I liked the addition of dark beer, and the combination of pork and beef. I also think the fire roasted tomatoes added depth of flavor.

I entered this version into our charity chili cook-off at work, and it took third place. Next time, I'll use more steak and less chocolate. I thought it was a bit too sweet this time, and the recipe below reflects these changes. The top two chilis were made by my friends and colleagues Cristi and Ryndee, who did terrific renditions of turkey chili with tequila and lime and a spicy rib-eye chili with beans. Fabulous!

My version of Bon Appetit's Pork, Beef and Black Bean Chili:

Makes 8-10 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced onions
3 cups diced red bell peppers
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1.5 pounds chuck steak, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bottle dark beer
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
12 ounces tomato paste
2 small squares of 70% dark chocolate
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
3 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
2 3/4 cups beef broth
Grated cheddar cheese, for serving

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper and garlic and cook until soft, about 20 minutes, stirring often.

Add ground pork and ground beef and saute for a few minutes. Add cubed beef and saute another five minutes or so.

Meantime, toast cumin, chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper in a small pan over medium high heat. Add toasted spices to meat mixture. Add salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Try to resist tasting; give the flavors a few minutes to meld first!

Pour in the dark beer. Stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chocolate and black beans. Stir in beef broth 3/4 cup at a time, until the chili reaches your desired consistency. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, then adjust seasonings and serve with grated cheese.

Do you have a favorite chili recipe? Tell me about it!


  1. Never thought of combining meats for a chilli but this looks gooood! Once we've made it through the big pot of veggie/ chicken chilli I just made, might have to experiment...

  2. Mardi, I really liked the addition of the pork, and the chuck steak was great too. The rib-eye in my friend's chili was terrific.

  3. sounds yummy! Ruth

  4. Maria - thanks for calling these pita chips to my attention. I'm going to make them today, along with a white bean, roasted garlic and sage dip. -Jordana