Recipe: Bone-Broth Pork Green Chili

Bone-Broth Pork Green Chili

A dish with many uses:  Use as a sauce over, e.g., burritos, as a side soup, or as a one-dish meal with the addition of shredded or ground chicken or pork.   Plus, it can be made entirely from the pantry, with the exception of the optional cilantro.  See the previous post for more about bone broth and the pantry staples used for this chili.

Green Chili Pic

Step 1:  Saute Vegetables and Seasonings

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 med onions, sliced ¼” thick, then cut into 2” lengths
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1-4 Tbsp. chopped roasted chiles (e.g., Anaheims)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried leaf oregano (preferably Mexican)

In a large saute pan, warm oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions and saute about 5 to 10 minutes. Over medium high heat, they will brown deeply and almost char in spots.

Reduce heat to low and once pan has cooled slightly, add garlic, chiles, cumin and oregano and cook 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

Step 2:  Cook Potatoes

  • 2 med. potatoes, diced to ½”
  • 1 qt. pork (or chicken) bone broth, fat skimmed and reserved

While the onions saute, combine potatoes and bone broth in a soup pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender but not mushy.

Step 3:  Mix and Simmer

  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • ½ to 1 cup diced tomatillas (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Add to cooked potatoes, along with reserved onion mixture. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer another 5-10 minutes for flavors to meld.

Step 4:  Thicken Chili (Optional Step)

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (or reserved pork fat, see Notes)
  • 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • ¼ to ½ cup water

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil and flour, gradually adding water to form a smooth paste.  Add to chili, whisking continuously to avoid lumping.  Cover and simmer about 5 more minutes until chili is thick and no longer tastes of raw flour.

Step 5:  Accessorize

  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional, but good!)

Taste and add more seasonings, if needed. Serve immediately with fresh lime juice and cilantro to taste, if using.

NOTES

1. Pork Bones  I started with an uncured shoulder roast.  Ham hocks could also be used, but I would avoid cured ham products as that could add a “cured” flavor to the chili that might conflict with the usual pork green chili flavor.

I slow cooked the shoulder roast and pulled off the meat for a variety of dishes, saving a little for the chili.  After pulling the meat from them, I returned the bones to the slow cooker,along with some of the pan drippings and filled with water to simmer for a bone broth.  I strained the broth through a sieve into quart jars and allowed it to chill, so the fat rose to the top where I could skim it off before adding the remaining broth to the soup.  The skimmed fat is what I mixed with flour to thicken the soup.

2.  Broth Options  You could make this with just a regular pork stock or even a canned broth (or try Pacific Foods’ new bone broth.)  The flavor will not be as big, but it will still be fine.

3.  Meat–Make It a Meal  Any meat from your pork bones can be added to the chili, if desired.  Alternatively, shredded chicken can be added.

4.  Optional Mix-ins  For color, consider adding a little frozen corn or black beans (drained and rinsed to avoid discoloring the soup.)

5.  Gluten Free  For the whole wheat flour, substitute a combination (half and half) sweet white sorghum and teff flours.

6.  Chile Warning!!  Depending on the chiles you use, they can be HOT!  So add gradually, tasting after each addition, until you know the amount that works for you.  If the chili ends up being too hot, it can be served over rice, add chicken to it, top with cheese, etc.

What’s Up with Bone Broth?

Bone Broth Pic

Bone broth is BIG. I knew it for sure when I saw that Pacific Foods is now making it, and whole cases were specially displayed at Whole Foods. So what’s the deal?

Essentially, a bone broth is just animal bones simmered in water. But unlike broths and stocks where the simmering is done a few hours, a bone broth is simmered for a long, long time–like 24+ hours. That’s why I use a slow cooker to make it.

Why the new and sudden interest in this old-fashioned staple? Just like fermented foods, another old-fashioned food given new life, we’re loving bone broths because they are nutritional powerhouses. Seems old-timers knew a thing or two about nutrition without so much as a single study to rely on!

Here’s a great article from Jenny McGruther’s Nourished Kitchen blog that explains the nutritional benefits and links to her “recipe” for making bone broth.

In addition to great nutrition, let me add that bone broths have incredible flavor. Although canned broths work fine if you’re short on time, making your own broths, stocks and especially bone broths will take you into another taste stratosphere. If you can just get yourself to try it a couple times and get over the initial hump of making your own, you’ll find it actually requires a pretty minimal time investment and pays off in extra flavor 10 times over. Plus,

  • it’s a lot less expensive than store-bought, actually costing about $0.25 since it’s made mostly with bones you’d otherwise toss, and
  • homemade doesn’t contain the natural flavorings, colorings, sugar, tons of salt, etc., etc. that many packaged broths now include.

Like Jenny, I almost always have some bones simmering for a broth that can add easy, great flavor to all sorts of dishes.  This week, for instance, with some pork bone broth simmered up last week, I made pork green chili. I’ve had a hankering for it, since I have LOTS of roasted chiles from my CSA. They are prepped and bagged in the freezer, waiting anxiously to be put to use. Also in my pantry:

  • jars of tomatoes from my summer CSA,
  • jars of tomatillas from my garden, and
  • lots of potatoes, garlic and onions (the last of 2014’s produce harvested in the fall and distributed in my winter CSA.)

It’s so nice to have a helpfully stocked pantry.  Drawing from mine, I was able to come up with a great dish, no grocery shopping needed.  Check out the recipe in the next post.

Autumn’s Harvest and Food Day

Those who have been readers for a while know I always wax poetic come autumn.  You’ll remember, too, that I always encourage some kind of harvest-y type of activity.  Stop long enough to notice this moving change of seasons and deep-rooted feelings get touched.  As those feelings are exposed to a little autumn light, the reward is a unique warmth and comfort.

Pickling is a great harvest-y thing to do. You can pickle just about any darn thing. Have you ever Googled “pickle recipes”? Three of us went crazy one day in September. This is what 45!!! jars of pickles looks like.

Harvest-y activities are easy to find.  Head to a pumpkin patch, make a thick butternut squash soup, can some tomatoes, freeze some peppers.  And this year, apples are everywhere, often going to waste.  Pick your own or a neighbors, cut out any bad spots, chop roughly and throw in the slow cooker for a totally autumn batch of applesauce.  Cinnamon and raisins are good additions.

For something a little different this year, I’m linking to a lovely harvest-time post appropriately titled, “The Sweetness of the Season.”  It is made all the more lovely by the fact that it was written by a bright young woman who is devoting her energy, intelligence and skill to growing amazing food for people in Pennsylvania.

Something else is special about autumn, i.e., Food Day on October 24th.  This nationally recognized day has several goals:  1) to celebrate and honor the food that is at the heart of our survival (and which we can easily take for granted in a nation of such fabulous food wealth); 2) to change our own diets in ways that are healthier for us and the planet; and 3) to  gain awareness about and take action to correct serious deficiencies in our food system.

You can easily take part in Food Day.  Head to FoodDay.org for ideas and resources and to find out about hosting an event–which can be very simple, e.g., having friends over to share a great healthful meal, bringing healthy snacks to an office meeting, hosting a neighborhood potluck, etc. .

For 2014, Food Day is focused on food access, a glaringly sad deficiency of our food system in the land of plenty.   In honor of that goal, the following posts address the problem with food waste, how it affects hunger and food access, and how we can do something about it.

This series of Waste Not, Want Not articles is part of Food Day’s first-ever Coordinated Blogging Event.  Please check out the following blogs written by other authors participating in this Event:

Scantily Clad Photos and Burgers by Denise the Dietitian posted on A Dietitian’s Diary: Finding a Healthy Balance

Waste Not, Want Not Quick Health Saver Tip

It’s tempting to toss little bits of leftovers.  They don’t seem worth the time it takes find a container (and its lid), transfer the leftovers, and then find a place for the container in a (usually) overcrowded frig.  But those little bits can be healthy diet savers.  E.g., you come home after work starving.  Instead of digging in to expensive and not-so-good-for-you snack foods, microwave the leftovers and get some real food satisfaction, plus valuable nutrition.

Leftover Curry

Instead of tossing the part of dinner you can’t finish, put it in a microwaveable dish to quickly satisfy a snack attack.

Case in point: I had a little leftover curry the other night–not enough for a full meal, but I stowed it anyway.  The next morning I got up for an early hike and Farmers’ Market visit and needed something to tide me over until I could get back.  What a pleasant surprise to open the frig and discover my little bowl of vegetable-rich curry.  Perfect!

Waste Not, Want Not: Quick Dessert Idea

You know those pears pictured in the previous post that looked like compost material?  The creamy insides become even more incredible when sliced (about 2-3 cups) and sauteed in 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil until golden brown (about 15 to 20 minutes over medium to medium-low heat.)

Suddenly, those rotting pears became a tempting treat.

Sprinkle with a little nutmeg or cardamom, if desired and eat as is.  Or sprinkle with granola, turn off the heat and cover for 10 to 15 minutes.  Instant pear crisp!

Of course you can top with a splash of cream, yogurt, coconut cream, or even ice cream.

Waste Not, Want Not: Reflections

Sometimes with produce, as with people, it’s easy to get hung up on outer appearances . . .

. . . and miss the sweetness inside.

I know most bloggers fill their posts with gorgeous food pictures, but this is a different kind of post. No one harvested these poor pears, leaving them instead to get blown off and smashed to the ground to rot. But it only took 30 seconds to slice off the rot and discover some of the best tasting pears I’ve ever had!

Waste Not, Want Not Recipe: Ginger Cardamom Green Beans

Tough beans. Maybe they didn’t get harvested before becoming huge and gangly, or maybe they were forgotten in the frig. At any rate, the quick steaming and poaching methods that are perfect for tender, fresh beans won’t make a dent in these guys’ armor. But instead of tossing them, try boiling them. Nowadays, vegetables aren’t often boiled, since it can soften vegetables too much and take out too much flavor–but that’s exactly what’s needed for tough old beans. And the cooking liquids remain part of the dish so nutrients aren’t lost. Of course you can also use fresher, younger beans for this recipe.

Ginger Cardamom Green Beans

The last of summer’s green beans and tomatoes make a delightful pairing, enhanced by the exotic flavors of ginger and cardamom.

  • 4 to 5 cups green beans, sliced into roughly 1½” lengths (from about 1½ lbs. green beans)
  • 2 to 2½ cups fresh tomatoes, diced to roughly ¾” (from about 2 large tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Step 1–Cook Beans  Stir together in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender, to taste.  (For young beans, this may be 5 to 10 minutes; for older beans, 20 to 30 minutes.)

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger, prepared or fresh
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Bury the coconut oil, cardamom and ginger together in a small well in the center of pan, where the flavors will cook and meld in the residual heat.

Step 2–Bloom Seasonings, Soften Coconut  Once beans are fully cooked, remove pan from heat.  Push beans to sides of pan and bury the coconut oil, ginger and cardamom, all together, in the liquid in center of pan.  Sprinkle coconut over the entire mixture, then re-cover pan and allow seasonings to bloom and coconut to soften in the residual heat of mixture, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve  Stir mixture together, season with more salt and pepper to taste, and serve, using small bowls to contain liquids, if desired.

Cook’s Notes
Winter Options  In winter when decent green beans are hard to come by and flavorful tomatoes are non-existent, substitute a 16-oz package of high-quality frozen beans and a 15-oz. can of Muir Glen tomatoes.
Cooking Options  Because I had to leave on a quick errand the first time I made this dish, I boiled the beans in my rice cooker so I didn’t have to worry about burning them.  It worked quite well which leads me to wonder whether a slow cooker would also work.
Coconut Flakes  Unlike the usual shredded coconut, these are more like ribbons, about ¼” wide.  They can be found at Vitamin Cottage, but regular shredded coconut can also be used.  Because it packs more densely, use only ¼ to 1/3 cup.
If You Have Time. . .  For a sweet finishing touch, hold off adding the coconut as directed.  Instead, toast it in a warm dry pan and sprinkle over each portion when served.

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