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Smoky Pork Chili with Black-Eyed Peas

Donald Link’s granddad’s venison chili inspired this recipe, but Link substitutes pork—his signature meat—for the venison. He recommends serving his chili with cornbread.

Yields about 2 quarts; serves 6


6 plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped

6 medium cloves garlic, peeled

2 large or 3 medium jalapenos, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, halved, cored, and coarsely chopped

¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. dried oregano

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 dried ancho chiles

2 dried New Mexico chiles

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce


2 Tbs. vegetable oil

2½ lb. ground pork

1 Tbs. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

Kosher salt

2 cups lower-salt chicken broth

4 cups fresh or thawed frozen black-eyed peas (or three 15-oz. cans, drained and rinsed)

Sour cream, for serving

Thinly sliced scallions, for serving


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F.

Put the tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos, onion, bell pepper, vinegar, oil, oregano, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a 9×13-inch roasting pan and stir to combine. Roast, stirring every 15 minutes and scraping the bottom of the pan, until collapsed and very soft, about 45 minutes. Set aside.

While the vegetables roast, heat a 10inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the ancho and New Mexico chiles in the pan and toast on both sides until blistered, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Put the chiles in a medium bowl, cover with 2 cups warm water (if they rise to the top, weight them down with a bowl), and soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve set over a bowl; reserve the soaking water.

Stem, seed, and coarsely chop the chiles. Put them in a food processor with the chipotle chiles and the roasted vegetables and puree until the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside.


Heat the vegetable oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork, cumin, chili powder, and 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. salt; cook, stirring, until the meat is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sofrito and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the reserved chile water, chicken broth, and fresh black-eyed peas. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 45 minutes (if you’re using canned or frozen black-eyed peas, simmer the meat and broth for 30 minutes, add the peas, and continue to cook for 10 minutes longer). Season to taste with salt. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and scallions sprinkled over the top.

The chili will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


It is a quote. Fine Cooking Magazine October / November 2011

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