I love to make chili. It's a great way to incorporate healthful beans into my family's meals. The beans absorb spicy flavors well and meld with almost any meat.
In this recipe, pork tenderloin's the meat of choice. By using a tender, lean cut, I reduce the fat and the cooking times of more traditional slow-cooked chili. A small dose of chipotle en adobo provides a fast infusion of spice, while beer and pureed tomatoes form the braising liquid and help to balance the heat. This whole dish is ready in about an hour, making it quick enough to work into a weeknight dinner.
I like to use Pomi Strained Tomatoes, packed in aseptic cartons with no added water or salt. They are available at Whole Foods Markets, Wegmans and Italian markets. If you prefer, pureed canned tomatoes can be substituted. One extra step I take is to cook the beans myself instead of relying on the canned kind (see NOTE, below), to keep the sodium low.
If the chili is a little too spicy for you, add a tablespoon of low-fat sour cream to cool it down.
- 2 tablespoons mild olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into small dice (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup beer
- 3 cups cooked Great Northern or small white beans (see NOTE; may substitute 3 cups canned beans such as Eden Organic brand, drained and rinsed )
- 1 cup strained pureed tomatoes, such as Pomi brand
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle en adobo, or more to taste
- 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle en adobo, seeded and finely chopped (1 generous teaspoon; may substitute 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Leaves from 2 to 3 stems cilantro, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
Heat the oil in a medium (4-quart) pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the salt; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion has softened.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the cubed pork. Cook, stirring as needed, just until the pork has lost its raw look. Add the beer, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so the beer barely bubbles. Cook, stirring once or twice, for 8 minutes, then uncover the pot and add the beans, tomato puree, adobo, chipotle pepper and sugar; stir to mix well. Partially cover (leaving the lid ajar so steam can escape) and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed so the liquid barely boils.
Taste and adjust seasoning. If you add salt or adobo, you might want to cook for 5 to 10 minutes to fully incorporate the additional ingredients. Divide among individual bowls; sprinkle each portion with the cilantro.
NOTE: To cook beans, place 1 cup dried Great Northern beans or small white beans in a medium bowl; add enough water to cover by at least 1 inch and let the beans soak overnight at room temperature.
Drain, then transfer to a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the beans by an inch or two. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 90 minutes or until cooked through.
Drain the beans, then spread them out on a baking sheet to cool. Use right away, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. (This should yield about 3 cups total.)
From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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