Definition: birthday pork - shredded pork left over from my birthday party. It was seasoned with lime juice, cumin, and garlic, and then roasted in a “Caja China” (yes, Chinese box) for 4 hours. The leftovers made their way into containers and into the freezer. I brought two such containers up to school with me at the beginning of the year. One of them was made into pulled pork sandwiches a while ago (sorry, no post on that one). The second (and last) container is now simmering on my stove with lots of other delicious ingredients.
When I decided that I wanted to make chili with the rest of the birthday pork, I was first thinking that I would make a white chili. It was going to be spiced with a lot of cumin to help highlight the flavors already in the meat. But then I decided that some people don’t really like white chili, and there’s something much warmer about the red kind. So then I started looking for recipes that sounded good. Needless to say, there are TONS of chili recipes. I read through a bunch of them to get some ideas, and ended up making it on my own terms (recipe at the bottom of the page).
And really, what would chili be without cornbread? I actually think it’s illegal to serve chili without cornbread, so that was never even an option. My personal favorite kind of cornbread is cooked in a cast-iron skillet with cheddar cheese and scallions and jalapenos. Sadly, I don’t have a cast-iron skillet at school (although I might just have to steal one from my dad when I’m home this week), but I went with a basic pan and also some muffins - a decent second choice.
In answer to your question: no, I’m not too cheap to buy enough muffin cups. The three on the end without the muffin cups are gluten-free. One of my friends at school can’t eat gluten, and so I decided to challenge my math and measuring skills, and made three gluten-free corn muffins. I just added more cornmeal and left out the flour. She said they were delicious!
We also had key lime pie, and a big salad. Lots of garnishes: guacamole, sour cream, cheddar cheese, scallions, cilantro, red onion, and some tortilla chips. Here’s one artfully composed bowl.
- 2 onions
- 2 bell peppers
- 2 large cans of beans (I used Kidney and Pinto beans, but really any beans would do)
- 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
- 1 can of tomato paste
- 5 (I think it was about 5) cups cooked/shredded pork
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 Tbls. cumin
- 1 Tbls. chipotle chili powder
- 1 Tbls. hot chili powder
- 2 Tbls. regular chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
The longer it cooks the better, so layer it all into the pot starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. And then just let it cook down for a while (mine cooked for about 2 hours).