Pork and Beer Chili with Skillet Cornbread
Listen. I’m not Southern, okay? Let’s just get that out of the way. But just because I’m not Southern, doesn’t mean I can’t have a chili recipe, dammit. This won’t be a slap-your-mama, too spicy to speak kind of meal. This is fancy chili… or about as fancy as chili can get. It’s fancy because there’s sage, but it’s not uppity because there’s beer.
I think everyone grows up eating chili a certain way. I honestly didn’t know how many variations there were. I only knew chili the way my mom has always made it – with beans, over rice, with cheese, sour cream, and crushed up saltine crackers on top. It wasn’t until I started making chili for my husband and our roommate that I realized how unique this was. They had never had chili served over rice, let alone chili with crushed crackers on top! I haven’t included the crackers, but go ahead and try it sometime.
This recipe has a bit of a Mexican bent to it, with black beans, lime, and Negra Modelo. There’s a liquor store near my house that sells Negra Modelo by the bottle, but I usually grab a six pack because it pairs effortlessly with the chili. Chili + beer + cornbread = carby comfort food heaven.
I’ve included Skillet Cornbread as a bonus recipe, but don’t let that fool you – it’s not one to pass by. It’s thick and cakey and sweet. The edges and bottom get crispy from being cooked in a cast iron skillet and the browned butter adds a depth of flavor that you’ll love. It keeps well and warms up nicely with a pat of butter.
Pork & Beer Chili
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 poblano pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried sage or 1 tbsp minced fresh sage
- 1 tbsp chile powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 15 oz cans of black beans (or a mixture of 1 can black beans and 1 can pinto beans), drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup Negra Modelo (or another lager beer)
- Cooked white rice for serving
- Optional toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, lime wedges
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook until the vegetables are soft, 6-8 minutes.
- Add the pork, breaking it up and cooking it until it is well-browned. Stir in the salt, pepper, oregano, sage, chili powder and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes with their liquid, the beans, and the bear. Stir well and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Reduce the heat and leave to thicken, about 35-40 minutes. Taste and adjust the spices as needed. Serve over rice with optional toppings.
Bonus Recipe: Skillet Cornbread
- 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Using a cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides and the butter solids turn brown. It should give off a nutty smell. Swirl the pan frequently to prevent the solids burning.
- Pour the brown butter into a large bowl and set the skillet aside, but do not wash it out. Whisk the maple syrup into the butter, followed by the buttermilk and then the 3 eggs. Combine the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda in another bowl and then whisk the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
- Pour the batter back into the cast iron skillet. Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick poked into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. Allow the cornbread to cool in the skillet for about 10 minutes before cutting.