Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bring on the Red

History tells us that chili originated in Texas.  Ladies known as "chili queens" would set up stands in San Antonio and sell their chile con carne, which means chiles with meat, or what we now know as chili.  Cowboy cooks ran little chili shacks and sold a bowl of chili for a nickel.  In 1893 at a world fair in Chicago, there was a Texas stand that introduced chili to the rest of the world.  

There are probably as many variations of chili as there are stars in the sky.  But this recipe is a little different than the typical chili I make or am used to eating.  My Darn Good Chili has very little tomato, is more of a brown chili, and, yes, I put beans in it.  

But this time I wanted to try something a little different. Something maybe a little more authentic and closer to what those chili queens were serving up.  Something made with real chiles.  Why do I spell it that way?  The spanish word for peppers is chile, pronounced chee-lay.  For me, when I'm talking about the pepper, that's what I use.  Chili is a pot of stewed meat and other ingredients.  So I made this Chile Colorado con Puerco, which means red chiles with pork. Colorado is "red in Spanish" and puerco means "pork."  It is an easy recipe and turned out so wonderful.  We ate ours over Fritos and called it a fancy pants Chili Frito Pie.  And I went around for the day calling myself a Chili Queen, so you should probably do that too.

One 4 lb pork butt or shoulder, cut in long thin strips
5 dried red chiles, like New Mexico chiles or Guajillo chiles
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
3 serranos, chopped
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano

NOTE:  My husband discovered a brilliant and super fast way to shred meat.  If you have a stand mixer, put the meat in the bowl of the mixer and attach the batter beater.  The meat shreds in seconds this way.

Cut the stems off of the chiles and knock the seeds out.  Put them in a bowl and put about 2 C hot water over the chiles. Soak them until they are softened, about 20 minutes.  Pour the water and the chiles into a blender and blend until smooth.  Put all of the ingredients including the blended chiles into a crockpot.  Cook the chili on low for about 8 hours or until tender.  Remove the meat from the crockpot and shred.  Return the meat to the sauce and serve.  You can serve this over Fritos with Cheddar cheese for a fancy pants Frito Chili Pie, or just eat the chili with a spoon.  

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