Black Bean Chili with Chipotle Braised Pulled Pork

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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4 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
7 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
16 cups water, or more
2 lb dried black beans, rinsed
3 tsp dried Mexican oregano
Zest of 1 orange
6 fresh poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
3 lb boneless pork butt (shoulder)
1 cup white onion, minced
1 (7 oz) can salsa verde
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, minced
2 cups sour cream
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, or to taste
Queso fresca, to taste
Avocado chunks, optional
Plenty of warm corn tortillas on the side


Prepare the chili: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add chili powder and ground cumin and stir 1 minute. Add 16 cups water, black beans, dried oregano, and orange zest. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until black beans are begin to get tender, about 1/2 hour. Add poblano chilis and season chili to taste with salt, adding more water by 1/2 cupfuls if too thick, and stirring frequently, about 1/2 hour longer. Season chili to taste with more salt.

DO AHEAD: Chili can be made to this point up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

Pulled pork with black beans and chilis: Prepare the pork: Cut the pork butt into several large, fist-sized, chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add pork to skillet and cook until browned, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer pork and any juices to the pot with the black bean chili. Leave the pork chunks whole.

Bring the beans and pork to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer about 2 to 3 hours covered, adding more water by 1/2 cupfuls if too thick, and stirring gently to keep the meat intact. At this point check the meat for doneness, it should be cooked through, with all of the collagen and connective tissue dissolved and practically falling apart.

Move the meat to a cutting board and using a fork, pull it into large shredded chunks. Move it to a serving bowl and keep warm until ready to serve.

Make the salsa: Mix the white onion, salsa verde and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Make the crema: Stir sour cream and minced chipotle chiles with a bit of the adobo sauce in medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve: Divide black bean chili among bowls. Top with pork, salsa, chipotle crema, queso fresca and avocado (if using). Serve with warm corn tortillas on the side. You may alternatively mix the shredded pork straight into the chili and serve it all mixed together.

Serves 12.