Texas-Style Chili with Pork and Red Kidney Beans

Chili is certainly a comforting food, and one of my favorite ways to serve it up is Texas-Style with Pork and Red Kidney Beans. Now while this style does have a bit of controversy because some Texans are a little picky about their protein and whether or not beans are allowed, that is not of my concern! I like chili better with beans. Beans add additional nutrients and an even better mouth-feel in my opinion.

Whether or not your Texas chili has beans, is it healthy? YES! My recipe below includes 1/2 pound of dried chilies, which means the dish is loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B6, and potassium. Adding red kidney beans adds additional nutrients like folate, iron, and copper, so you definitely have yourself a delicious healthy meal. Isn't it great when comfort foods are also healthy?

This recipe is really simple to make, and the hands-on time is so doable, but it does take some commitment to being at home and watching after your Dutch oven. So if you have a half day at home, don't be intimidated. It's super easy and a perfect recipe to make on the weekend!

Texas Chili with Pork and Red Kidney Beans

Hands on Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 4 Hours
Serves 6

6 oz mixed dried chilies, such as ancho, pasilla, New Mexico, or cascabel
2 oz dried chipotle chilies
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
3 lbs pork stew meat (1-inch cubes)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp cornmeal
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

To Serve
Diced white onion
Diced red & green serrano peppers
Cilantro, roughly chopped
Sour cream
8 lime wedges

In a medium skillet, toast whole dried chilies in batches over medium heat until fragrant and browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Stem and de-seed chilies.  

Transfer chilies to a large heatproof bowl and cover with 6 cups of boiling hot water for 20-30 minutes, until soft. 

While chilies soak, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat to a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add half of the pork. Season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining pork and transfer to a plate.

Place soaked chilies in a blender with soaking liquid, garlic, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and dark brown sugar. Blend on high until pureed. Working in batches, strain chili mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl.

To the same skillet, add 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat and stir in onion. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, scraping up any browned bits, until soft. Add cumin and continue cooking for 30 seconds longer. Stir in chili mixture, oregano, broth, and pork. In a small bowl, add cornmeal and 2 cups water. Stir to combine and add to skillet. Bring to a boil and down to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the meat is very tender, about 3 to 3.5 hours. 

Add beans to the skillet with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes, until beans are warmed through. Serve immediately garnished with white onion, serranos, cilantro, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime.

Note: The chili grows richer in flavor the next day. Definitely make enough to serve for lunch and maybe even more to freeze for future meals!