Chili is a very versatile dish and can even be an excellent means of using up leftover vegetables, pulses or other items in your fridge, vegetable garden or hothouse/greenhouse. The chilies and green tomatoes in this recipe very much fell in to that category following a bumper crop in both respects. The usual ground beef was also replaced with pork to add a further bit of variety to the finished creation.
It is important to know the strength of the chilies you are going to be using in any recipe. Supermarkets very often provide a valuable guide in this respect but if you are growing your own, a bit of careful tasting and experimentation will likely be necessary in the early stages of harvesting your crop. The larger chilies incorporated in this dish were fairly mild but - as is so often the case - the smaller ones were ultra hot and fiery so required using with great care. Washing your hands very thoroughly after chopping such chilies is imperative.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- ¾ pound ground (minced) pork
- 1 small white onion
- 2 large garlic cloves (1 each for chili and for rice)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 large mild chilies
- 2 small fiery chilies
- 4 ounce pack mixed bell pepper slices*
- 6 to 8 small green tomatoes
- 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
- 8 ounce can red kidney beans in water
- ¾ cup long grain rice
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro (2 for chili and 1 for rice), plus extra to garnish
*Half each of red, green and yellow bell peppers, seeded and moderately finely sliced, can be used where a prepared pack is unavailable
Peel and finely slice the onion and one of the garlic cloves. Pour the vegetable oil in to a large pot, put it on to a low to medium heat and add the onion and garlic slices. Stir fry gently for a minute or two just until the onion strands are clearly softening.
Add the ground pork to the pot and season with the cumin as well as some salt and pepper. Stir well and keep stirring until all the pork strands are separated and browned. This can take a few minutes.
Cut the green tomatoes down through the center in to quarters. Add them to the pot and stir them through the pork.
The bell pepper slices go in to the pot next and are stirred through. Cover the pot and simmer gently for ten minutes to just soften the peppers.
Slice all the chilies across the way in to discs, remembering to wash your hands extremely well afterwards. Pour the canned tomatoes in to the pork mix and scrape in the chilies.
Stir the pot well, at which point you will probably find an apparent excess of liquid to be present. Simmering uncovered for twenty minutes, stirring every five minutes or so, will mostly correct this issue.
Wash the kidney beans in water and through a colander. This gets rid of most of the artificial preservatives and excess salt from the canning process.
When the chili has been simmering for twenty minutes, stir in the kidney beans and simmer for ten more minutes.
Stir two tablespoons of the chopped cilantro in to the chili at the very end of the cooking time. Turn the heat off under the pot and allow it to steam off and lose the last of the excess moisture while you prepare the rice.
Bring a fairly large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Plenty of water prevents the rice grains from sticking together. Wash the rice in a sieve under running water and add to the boiling water. Stir well, reduce the heat until you achieve a modest simmer and cook in this way for ten minutes.
Drain the rice and let it steam off for a couple of minutes. Return it to the pot. Peel and grate in the garlic clove and add the tablespoon of chopped cilantro. Stir well.
The chili should now be fairly thick with only a minimum amount of liquid present.
Spoon the rice either in to the center of your serving plate to serve as a bed for the chili or, as in this example, on to one side of the plate.
Spoon the chili on to or alongside the rice and garnish with the last of the cilantro.
Alternative Serving Suggestion
This serving idea is particularly suited to any leftover chili you may be heating up the following day for lunch. It does not take long to prepare.
Add the leftover chili to a pot and put it on to a very gentle heat to reheat in full. Stir it frequently.
Fill a pot with water to a depth of about four inches. Stir in four tablespoons of white wine or similar vinegar. Bring the water to a simmer only. Don't let it boil.
Break an egg in to a small cup or drinking glass. Stir the water in the pot with increasing vigor until a whirlpool is formed. Carefully pour the egg straight in to the vortex of the whirlpool, the edge of the glass almost but not quite touching the water. The vinegar and the initial motion in the water help to draw the white evenly around the yolk. Keep the water just below simmering point for three minutes.
Spoon the leftover chili in to a deep serving plate. Lift the poached egg from the water with a slotted spoon and sit it on top of the chili. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.