Chili is one of my favorite dishes. There is just something so satisfying about sitting down with a big bowl of chili and some cornbread. Which is why it is such a disappointment to me that my school makes such poor chili. Good chili should have some kick to it, something that makes you feel warm inside. My mom makes the absolute best chili, but when she isn’t around I have to improvise. This recipe is full of flavor with the perfect amount of heat. The base of this recipe is the ground pork. Ground pork tends to be cheaper than ground beef so by using ground pork instead you save a bit of money while still ensuring the dish has plenty of flavor.
Once you have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to go, the first thing to do is to start sautéing the onion in about a teaspoon of oil. Cooking the onion on its own first allows it to soften and get a bit of caramelization going which will result in a slightly sweet flavor that plays nicely with the acidity of the tomatoes later. Give the onions a few minutes by themselves before adding the minced garlic. The goal with the onion and garlic is to add a lot of flavor before we get to the heavy hitters – the pork and tomatoes. Plus the smell of onions and garlic cooking is a favorite of mine, guaranteed to make my mouth water.
Now it is time to add the pork. I find it is best to cook the pork all the way through before adding any liquid ingredients. This allows you to brown the meat adding another flavor element to the dish. Once the meat is cooked through it is time to add the seasoning to the dish. This is where the bulk of the “chili” flavor is developed. To the meat mixture add the chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and half of the oregano. Reserve the remaining half of the oregano to add with the broth later.
While the meat is browning, it is time to strain and rinse the beans.
Once the meat is browned and delicious it is time to add the bulk of our chili – the cannellini beans and the tomatoes. Most chili recipes call for crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, but I find the diced tomatoes add a nice element to the chili.
Let the tomatoes and beans cook with the meat and onion mixture for a minute or two to really meld the flavors together. Now it is time to add the chicken broth, remaining oregano, and crushed red pepper for some heat.
After about twenty minutes it is time to add the flour slurry. This will thicken the broth up nicely. Once the broth has thickened it is ready to eat. Serve and enjoy! I like to pair mine with a nice cornbread muffin.
White Bean Chili