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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chew on This | South of the Border Chili with Fried Tortillas

I had an awesome bowl of chili for lunch a few months ago at a new restaurant in our area. I've always been partial to chili and the pork chili they served was a good one. I could hardly wait to get home and try to recreate it and maybe even tweak it, for the better, a bit.  My version contains lots of gooey Monterey jack cheese, more spices, a shot of hot sauce and a topper of crunchy fried tortillas.  It is down-right delicious.
This is what you will need:
Pulled pork, Cannelloni beans, cream, Monterey jack cheese, onions, red and green peppers, garlic, chopped green chiles, cilantro, chicken broth, tortillas, oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Optional:  A dash of hot sauce to add some more heat.

When making this chili, do what I do - multi-task! I make a pork shoulder in the crock pot for pulled pork sandwiches and before serving I save at least 2 cups of the meat and 2 cups of the liquid to make this awesome pork chili! 

Now, for the chili, I start by sautéing the garlic in olive oil.

Slice and dice the onion and the red and green peppers.  Add to the garlic.

Drop in the green chiles, cumin, cilantro-fresh if you have it. I used frozen cubes of cilantro and two cubes of garlic from Trader Joe's.  Stir to combine.

Over low heat, sauté until the onion and the peppers are almost tender.  Pour in your stock -
2 cups from the pork stock, if you have it, plus 4 cups of chicken broth. Or just use 6 cups of chicken stock. Now, rinse and drain the Cannelloni beans. 

Add the beans to the pot and simmer 45 minutes over low heat.

Now add in the shredded pulled pork.

Next, in a small bowl, add 3 T of flour and 1/2 cup of chili stock and stir. Add another 1/2 cup of stock and blend till smooth. Pour into the chili and stir.  Add the cream.  The 4 ounces of shredded Monterey Jack cheese goes in now and the optional dash of hot sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer 15 minutes more.

While the chili is simmering, slice the tortillas in 1/2" strips. Using a small skillet, fry them in oil until they are golden in color. Drain on a paper towel and quickly season with salt.  

To serve, pour chili into individual bowls. Divide the remaining 4 ounces of shredded Monterey Jack cheese between the bowls.  Place cheese in the center of the chili and pile on the fried tortillas in a pyramid.  It doesn't get better than this!



Here is the recipe:

South of the Border Chili with Fried Tortilla Strips

1 1/2 - 2  medium onions, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
4 T olive oil
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 small can (4.5 ounces) green chopped chiles
2 cups of pulled pork, or more,  shredded
2 cans of Cannelloni beans (white Northern beans)
2 t cumin
6 cups chicken stock (I used 2 cups of stock from my pulled pork and 4 cups chicken stock)
1/2 cup heavy cream 
3T flour
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (4 oz to be used in chili and 4 oz saved for the garnish)
cilantro to taste (I use 2 t)
salt and pepper to taste
3 T oil for frying tortillas
10 tortillas, cut into thin slices  (sliced 1/2" wide)

In a large stock pot, pour in the olive oil and add the minced garlic.  While sautéing over low heat, add the diced onion, green and red peppers.  Stir to combine, add a can of green chiles, 2 t of cumin.  Sauté until vegetables are almost tender.

Next, stir in your stock. Drop in the drained Cannelloni beans and simmer 45 minutes over low heat. 

After 45 minutes add the shredded pulled pork and cilantro. 

Spoon 3 T of flour into a small bowl, add about 1/2 cup of chili stock and stir.  Add another 1/2 cup of stock and combine till smooth. Pour this back into the chili and stir to blend.  Next, add your cream. Stir. 

Add 4 oz. of the shredded Monterey Jack cheese and the optional dash of hot sauce to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for another 15 minutes over low heat.

While the chili is simmering, slice the tortillas in 1/2" strips. Using a small skillet, fry them in 3 T of oil until they are golden in color. Drain on a paper towel and while still hot, sprinkle with a dash of sea salt.

To serve:  Pour chili into individual bowls.  Divide the remaining 4 oz. of shredded Monterey
Jack cheese between the bowls.  Place cheese in the center and pile on the fried tortillas in a pyramid.  Enjoy.

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