Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 19, 2022
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Spicy pork chili with cumin polenta

Pork, not the usual beef or chicken, stars in this robust chili.

Prep time: 1 hour

Start to finish: 2½ to 3 hours

Make ahead: Yes

For the chili

6 tbsp. (90 ml) vegetable oil, divided, plus more if needed

1½ c. (375 ml) onion, chopped

1 c. (250 ml) carrots, diced into ½-inch (1.25-cm) pieces

2 tbsp. (30 ml) serrano peppers (about 2 peppers; see note), minced

3 lb. (1.5 kg) boneless pork loin, trimmed of all excess fat and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes

½ c. (125 ml) all-purpose flour


freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp. (30 ml) garlic, minced

1 28-oz. (875-g) can Italian-style plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped

2 tbsp. (30 ml) plus 2 tsp. (10 ml) fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

4 c. (1 L) canned low-sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh cilantro, chopped

6 thin lime wedges for garnish (optional)

For the polenta

4 c. (1 L) chicken stock, plus a little extra if needed

2 tsp. (10 ml) ground cumin

1 c. (250 ml) yellow cornmeal

1 tbsp. (15 ml) unsalted butter

½ c. (125 ml) whole milk

Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil in a large, heavy, deep-sided pot set over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and carrots and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add serrano peppers and cook 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the ingredients onto a plate; set aside. Reserve pot.

Put the pork in large, resealable plastic bag; add flour, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and several grinds of pepper. Seal bag and shake well to coat the pork with flour.

Return the pot to medium-high heat and add 2 to 3 more tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) oil, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan lightly. When hot, add enough floured pork cubes to fit comfortably in a single layer in the pan (do not crowd). Brown the pork, turning, 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining pork, adding more oil as needed.

Return all the browned pork to the pan and add the garlic. Cook and toss 1 minute more. Return the reserved onion, carrots and peppers to the pan. Add the tomatoes, lime juice and 4 cups (1 L) broth. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes, then cover and cook until the meat is quite tender, 50 to 60 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Chili can be prepared 2 days ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)

To make the polenta, combine 4 cups (1 L) stock and cumin in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. When the stock begins to boil, reduce the heat and gradually (in a thin stream) whisk in the cornmeal. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, 6 to 8 minutes or less.

Stir in the butter and milk. Taste and add salt. (The polenta can be made 2 days ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat, stirring constantly and adding additional stock, as needed, until polenta is desired texture.)

To serve, spoon a generous ½ cup (125 ml) polenta into 6 shallow soup bowls. Ladle the chili over the polenta and sprinkle each portion with some cilantro. Garnish with a lime wedge, if desired. Serves 6.

Note: Serrano peppers are small hot peppers with slightly pointed ends. Like many peppers, they start out green and turn red as they mature. Use red ones if you can find them.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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