Saturday, May 3, 2014

how to be something you miss

Greetings from rainy and windy Belfast! What I wouldn't give to snuggle up to this bowl of Black-Eyed Pea Chili from my celebrity chef crush, Michael Symon. I mean, I hate to talk about a married man like this, but those squinty laugh eyes! That Cleveland accent! *swoon* (Does "squinty laugh eyes" make sense? You know what I mean, though, right?)

I can't even tell you how it tastes, although I have validation from my real-life crush that it was delicious. I made this last Tuesday night so that Matty would have at least a week's worth of food and a little something to miss me by when I left town for work. I let it simmer while I packed, and actually had to ask our houseguest Chet to turn off the burner because my Uber to the airport showed up early.

I'll pretend I have gourmet chili and actual snuggles while I keep myself warm wrapped up in merch samples (because all I managed to pack for five rainy UK weeks is one leather jacket), eating baked beans for breakfast. Actually, this isn't a problem - I think baked beans for breakfast is genius, but what I wouldn't give for one blast of Santa Ana winds.

Black-Eyed Pea Chili
serves everyone forever
slightly adapted from Michael Symon's Live to Cook via The Amateur Gourmet

1 T. ground coriander
1 T. sweet smoked paprika
1 t. ground cumin
4 lb. pork cheeks or pork shoulder, cleaned, trimmed, and cubed
salt and pepper, to taste
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz. bacon, thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and very finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 12-oz. bottle amber ale or porter
2 c. chicken stock
1 28-oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
2 canned chipotles in adobo, seeded and minced
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 small cinnamon stick

1. In a large bowl, combine the coriander, paprika, and cumin and toss with the pork. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

2. In a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add only as much pork as will fit in one layer to fully brown all sides. Repeat with the remaining pork, if necessary. Transfer back to the bowl.

3. Add the bacon to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and slightly crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, jalapenos, and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Return the pork cheeks to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Add the ale, chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotles, black-eyed peas, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.

5. Cover and cook over very low heat until the meat and beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

6. Season the chili with salt and pepper. Spoon off the fat from the surface and discard the cinnamon stick. Serve the chili in bowls. Garnish with your favorite chili accoutrements - sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions, etc.