If you’re tired of beef-based chilies with red beans, try this equally delicious but lighter version. It makes a great potluck dish or the centerpiece for a casual evening with friends. For a special occasion, serve with hot cornbread.
Large (minimum 5 quart) slow cooker
4 cups cooked black-eyed peas
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces chunk bacon, diced
2 pounds trimmed pork shoulder or blade (butt), cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 piece (2 inches) cinnamon stick
1 cup flat beer
1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 each red and green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Finely chopped red onion
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add pork, in batches, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to stoneware as completed.
Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining Tablespoon of oil to pan. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, peppercorns, and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beer, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, scraping up brown bits. Stir in tomatoes.
Transfer to stoneware. Stir in peas. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Stir in bell peppers and chipotles. Cover and cook on high for about 20 minutes, until peppers are tender. Garnish with any combination of sour cream, onion, and/or cheese.
MF&L Staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.