Some people have a strict definition of chili, but to me a major joy of the dish is that it’s more a big open field than a narrow path, with plenty of room to play. I suppose at a minimum it needs to include some kind of chile, plus meat (or poultry) and/or beans simmered in a savory, seasoned liquid (with all due respect to the never-beans-in-chili crowd).
But within those parameters, there is so much room for variation, it makes me practically giddy. I’m constantly plotting a different take on the one-pot wonder, especially this time of year when I crave easy meals that are comforting, warm and nourishing. One of my favorite casual party strategies is to make three very differently seasoned pots of chili — one vegetarian, one meat and one poultry — and have them simmering on the stove with toppings set out in bowls for guests to help themselves.
One variation that has made it to my weeknight table, and has won over many a party guest, is this tomato-less white and green number made with fresh poblano and jalapeño peppers, white beans, large white corn kernels (hominy) and ground pork. Using both pork and beans makes it a win both taste-wise and nutritionally, because you get meaty flavor in every bite despite a modest amount, plus lots of hearty protein and fiber. (You could substitute ground turkey, if you prefer.) Simmered in broth with earthy spices, and spiked with a bright hit of lime, each bowl gets topped with fresh cilantro and a dollop of yogurt — a bowl of goodness that launches you into a world of chili possibilities.
PORK CHILI VERDE
4 to 6 servings
This sumptuous white and green chili delivers gentle heat from fresh poblano and jalapeño chiles, as well as a filling heartiness from white beans, large white corn kernels (hominy) and ground pork. Simmered in broth with earthy spices — and no tomatoes — it’s a totally different and delightful chili experience.
Storage Notes: The chili can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 medium poblano peppers (about 3 ounces each), seeded and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons seeded and finely diced jalapeño pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more as needed
12 ounces lean ground pork (may substitute ground turkey)
Two (15 1/2-ounce) cans no-salt-added white beans, such as cannellini, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
One (15 1/2-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (whole-milk or reduced fat), for serving
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
4 lime wedges, for serving
In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, poblanos and jalapeños and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the pork and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have melded, about 20 minutes. Using a spoon, mash some of the beans on the side of the pot to thicken the mixture a bit.
Add the hominy and taste the stew. Season with more salt and/or cayenne pepper, if desired, and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have warmed through and the chili has thickened, about 15 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and top each with a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkle of cilantro and a lime wedge.
Nutrition | Calories: 360; Total Fat: 16 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 55 mg; Sodium: 500 mg; Carbohydrates: 33 g; Dietary Fiber: 9 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 25 g.