This recipe may just be the unexpected crowning glory of Chili January.
You absolutely must try this chili. Must.
Because, while we’ve all had numerous versions of traditional chili before, I’ll bet you’ve not had chili quite like this. And this chili is just incredible.
It’s unexpected because, while I thought this recipe looked like it could be a winner, I didn’t quite anticipate the deliciousness of this particular blend of savory flavors, the silky rich sauce, and the tender bites of pork. And thus, I had to share it with you right away.
This chili is totally different and unique – while it still has the rich and warm underlying flavors of chili, such as peppers, cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic – it differs from traditional chili in almost every other way. First of all, rather than beef, it is made with meaty chunks of pork, which cook up tender and flavorful.
Then, there are no beans. I, for one, generally believe that chili has to have beans, but I will give this recipe a pass because it is Mexican and who knows – maybe this really is how they eat their chili there! Someday, I may add a can or two of pinto beans, which I really think would work great, while increasing the yield. I will keep you posted if I ever try this…
And lastly, rather than a tomato based sauce, this chili relies on pumpkin puree and cream, of which, to be honest, I was a bit unsure. But, the result is a silky sauce with rich, deep flavor, and a mild sweetness to offset the savory flavors. The original recipe called for an entire can of pumpkin, but I only used about 2/3 of a can because I didn’t want the chili flavors to be overwhelmed by pumpkin. I wanted the pumpkin to be so subtle as to almost be difficult to identify. If you really like strong pumpkin flavor, you could surely add the entire can.
Oh! And the cilantro! It is perfection in this chili. I will admit, that I am a cilantro lover. In fact, cilantro may very well be my favorite green leafy food ever. So, I’m partial to cilantro… but seriously, a hint of fresh cilantro absolutely brings the flavors in this chili to life.
And it’s pretty sprinkled on top. So do it.
- 1 pound pork stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large sweet red pepper, chopped into ¾ inch pieces
- 1 medium poblano pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 can (14½ ounces) low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup water
- ½ to ⅔ can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- Ground black pepper
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pork and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pork is evenly browned.
- Stir in the onion, poblano pepper, and red pepper. Continue to cook and stir for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the cocoa powder, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Add the chicken broth and water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the pork is tender.
- Add the pumpkin, and whipping cream, stirring to combine. Return to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 more minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- To serve, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.
Recipe slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.