What’s in a name? Per Romeo & Juliet, not a lot. But to my family, you’d better not call something chili if they think it’s pork stew.
I first learned this lesson when my kids were teeny. That time I made a meatless spaghetti sauce using garbanzo beans. Presented to them atop spaghetti, they turned up their unanimous noses and refused to touch it. Rather than abandon the recipe, I waited a couple months, then served it again as Garbetti. Huge hit. Lesson learned.
So when I first served and posted this Pork Chili from Epicurious in March of 2019 I told my kids it was Chili Spiced Pork Stew. But I hated to think that someone looking online for a Pork Chili would miss this it. So when I updated it, I also renamed it.
If the kids turn it down now, that’s just more for me!
What makes “chili” chili
As I was going through the name debate, I actually looked up a definition of chili! Per Wikipedia chili “is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans. Other seasonings may include garlic, onions, and cumin.” Hmm, that’s my recipe.
Of course there is also the “beans or no beans” debate. Some people assert that real chili doesn’t have beans while others say it’s not chili without them. I won’t speak to authenticity, but given their health value I’m pro beans!
Why This is a Winner
- Family pleaser–this tasty, warming dish is loved by kids and adults alike!
- Perfect for many occasions–pork chili is equally at home for Game Day, an after-ski meal, at a potluck or a family lunch or dinner.
- Make ahead meal–this can be made 100% ahead of time and reheated. Some people say it’s even better the second day!
Step by Step Directions
To start, you cook bacon until crisp then remove and reserve
Saute the pork cubes then remove and reserve
Sides and Toppings
Part of the fun of chili is picking out tasty toppings to individualize your bowl. Besides letting you “have it your way,” this ups the flavor profile and rounds out an already tasty dish!
Some popular topping choices include:
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped avocado
- Diced onion
- Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- Sliced jalapeño peppers
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Sour cream
- Fresh Lime wedges
You can even set up a chili bar!
When it comes to sides, tortilla chips and corn bread are at the top of the list. And for the winning combination of ease of preparation plus hardiness, a crusty bakery bread with butter is another good choice. Of course, I’ll add a salad to any meal—perhaps something with a southwest flair.
Ideas for Leftover Chili
Chili will last a few days in the refrigerator, but if you’re not a leftovers family, there are plenty of other things to do with it. First, you can freeze it. ‘Cause once it’s been in the freezer a week, it’s not leftovers anymore! Consider freezing some in individual serving sizes for times when you need a solo meal.
Beyond tasty reruns, leftover Pork Chili can round out lots of other dishes. Toss some over hot dogs for chili dogs or top a baked potato for the tastiest loaded potato ever.
You could also stir some into mac n cheese—even the boxed variety will taste good with this added! Or give yourself a hearty breakfast or brunch by adding to scrambled eggs or a breakfast bowl. Finally using it in a nice queso dip would be a surefire hit on Game Day!
Yes, the possibilities are endless. Hmm, I might make this again just for the leftovers!
The original recipe got mostly rave reviews in the comments, but he biggest complaint was that it was too fatty. I initially solved this by using well-trimmed stew meat instead of the cut-up pork shoulder the original used. (If you are looking to use up a pork shoulder take a look at my recipe which renders most of the fat.)
I have also cut up pork steaks or chops to make this. Pork loin would be another good option with the benefit of easy fat removal! Browning ground pork would also work, though is slightly less elegant.
The most time consuming part of this recipe is trimming the pork. So go for something with less bone and fat if you can.
Tips & FAQs
I like to make my Pork Chili in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven. It is so pretty, you can take it right from the stove to the table! I guess that makes this a one pot meal.
I love making large batches of soup or stew. It takes a little time initially but pays dividends for weeks. We got two meals out of this, and then I froze leftovers. It always feels good when there is healthy soup waiting in the freezer. Plus it’s a great safety net for busy times!
So check out more great chili recipes below!
Welcome to our 2021 Chili Cook-Off!
October is Chili Cook-Off Month! We have delicious recipes from across the country to get your chili making to the next level of deliciousness!
#ChiliCookOff is an annual blogging event that is hosted by Ashley from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Venison Chili from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Colorado Green Chili fromThe Fresh Cooky
- Leftover Roast Pork Chilifrom A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili from Sweet Beginnings
- Instant Pot Chili from Devour Dinner
- Chili con Carne from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Smoked Turkey Chili from Palatable Pastime
- My Dad’s Contest Winning Chili from The Spiffy Cookie
- Instant Pot Pork Green Chili from Hostess At Heart
- Black Eyed Pea Chili from Leftovers Then Breakfast
- Pork Chili from Art of Natural Living
- Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili from Life Love and Good Food
- White Chicken Chili from Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Pumpkin Chili from Jen Around The World
- Vegan Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili from Magical Ingredients
- Cincinnati Chili from An Affair from the Heart
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin Chilifrom The Freshman Cook
- Texas Chili from SmartyPantsKitchen
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil or more as needed, divided
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 3-4 pounds lean pork trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers fresh or frozen, seeded and minces
- 3 red bell peppers seeded and chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 cups beef broth
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes 1 can
- 20 ounces fire roasted tomatoes with chilis 2 10-ounce cans
- 45 ounces beans drained and rinsed, 3 15-ounce cans
- Sour cream cilantro, etc. for serving
- In a large stockpot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove and reserve, then pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Crumble bacon.
- Pat pork cubes dry and season with salt and pepper. Add additional oil to pot if needed. Brown pork in multiple batches and transfer with a slotted spoon to another plate.
- Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and spices, then cook another minute. Return bacon and pork to pot with any accumulated juices. Add broth, jalapeños, bell peppers, tomatoes with chilis and tomatoes with purée and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer chili, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Stir in beans and cook an additional half hour.
- Serve chili with your choice of toppings.
- Maple Vanilla Granola
- Pumpkin Pudding with Chocolate Spider Webs