I know purists will say chili has to be made from beef. I am not a purist. I also think it is okay to put beans in chili. Hey, after all, you’re the one who’s going to eat it, right?

Instead of polenta I often use a coarse grain corn meal (that I found in a Russian deli) and that needs to cook a bit longer, but it looks so pretty with the larger grains.

Pork Chili with Polenta

Ingredients:

Chili -
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (plus more if needed)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 2 tablespoons minced serrano peppers
  • 3 pounds boneless pork loin, cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more if needed)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans (or any other type you like)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can italian-style plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 lime wedges, for garnish
Polenta -
  • 4 cups chicken stock (plus a little extra if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Directions:

To make the chili, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute onions and carrots for about 5 minutes, then add in the serrano chilies and cook another minute. With a spoon, scoop ingredients out onto a plate and set aside.

Place pork in a large ziploc baggie, add flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Shake to season pork and coat with flour.

Return the Dutch oven to medium high and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add pork, in batches, to brown for 3 to 4 minutes, adding oil as needed. Remove to paper towels once browned to rest.

Return all the pork to the Dutch oven and toss with the garlic. Return the onion mixture, add beans, tomatoes, lime juice, and broth. Bring to a simmer, then decrease heat and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Cover pot and cook until pork is very tender, another 50 to 60 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

NOTE: Chili can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time, covered, refrigerated, and re-heated over medium heat (when re-heating, you may need to add a little broth or water if too thick).

To make the polenta, combine 4 cups stock and the cumin in a large saucepan and heat over medium high heat.

Once it begins to boil, decrease heat and gradually stream in cornmeal while whisking to prevent clumping. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to thicken, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the butter and milk. Taste and add salt if needed.

NOTE: The polenta can also be made up to 2 days in advance. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. To re-heat, stir over low heat adding stock or water as needed to attain desired texture.

To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup of polenta into a shallow bowl, then ladle the chili over top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over top.

Serves 8-10