Spicy Pork Chili with Cumin Polentafrom Sunday Soup
by Betty Rosbottom from Chronicle Books
Chili:6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more if needed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup diced (1/2-inch dice) carrots
2 tablespoons minced serrano peppers
3 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed of all excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
One 28-ounce can Italian-style plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
6 thin lime wedges for garnish (optional)
Polenta:4 cups chicken stock, plus a little extra if needed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
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1. To make the chili: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy, deep-sided pot set over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and carrots and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add serrano peppers and cook 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat and spoon ingredients onto a plate; set aside. Reserve pot.
2. Put pork in large resealable plastic bag; add flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Seal bag and shake well to coat pork with flour.
3. Return pot to medium-high heat and add 2 to 3 more tablespoons oil, or enough to coat bottom of pan lightly. When hot, add enough floured pork cubes to fit comfortably in a single layer in pan (do not crowd). Brown pork, turning, for 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining pork, adding more oil as needed.
4. Return all browned pork to pan and add garlic. Cook and toss 1 minute more. Return reserved onion, carrots, and peppers to pan. Add tomatoes, lime juice, and broth. Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes, then cover and cook until meat is quite tender, for 50 to 60 minutes more. Taste chili and season with salt and pepper, as needed. (Chili can be prepared 2 days ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)
5. To make the polenta: Combine 4 cups stock and the cumin in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. When stock begins to boil, reduce heat and gradually (in a thin stream) whisk in cornmeal. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to thicken, for 6 to 8 minutes or less.
6. Stir in butter and milk. Taste and add salt, as needed. (Polenta can be made 2 days ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat, stirring constantly and adding additional stock, as needed, until polenta is desired texture.)
7. To serve, spoon a generous 1/2 cup polenta into 6 shallow soup bowls. Ladle pork chili over polenta and sprinkle each portion with some cilantro. Garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.
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