Flicks & Food with The Domestic Diva: UNFORGIVEN Spicy Pork Chili

IMG_5271 There are few things in the world I love more than movies and food

In fact, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade doing two things:  1) working my way up the Hollywood ladder, and 2) teaching myself how to cook.  Come to think of it, the two endeavors actually have a lot in common.  Both necessitate steep learning curves, lots of trial and error, and very sharp knives, in Hollywood, for backstabbing, and in cooking, for cutting up big hunks of meat.  Of course, I’m kidding.  The knives in Hollywood are only metaphorical, aren’t they?  (Insert awkward laughter)

Regardless, in my mind, these two pursuits will always be inextricably linked.  That’s why for my GeekWeek column, I’m combining two of my greatest loves by creating fabulous, healthy recipes inspired by my favorite movies. 

For my inaugural column, I’m taking the time machine back to 1992, a time when jobs and flannel shirts were plentiful, when the majority of Americans thought Afghanistan was just something you said after you sneezed, and when Clint Eastwood journeyed to a town called Big Whiskey to take the law, and eventually Hollywood, into his own hands.  All told, Unforgiven racked up four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood) and Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman), won the hearts and minds of a younger generation of fans (like me), and proved once and for all that Clint Eastwood really is the baddest mofo ever to walk the earth. 

Channeling the gritty, cowboy-ridden, shoot em’ up world of Unforgiven, I’ve created a signature recipe for Spicy Pork Chili.  This dish combines rich, meaty free-range pork, smoky pimenton (smoked paprika), fire-roasted tomatoes, and just like William Munny, you know this chili is going to kick your ass (with spice). 

Oh, and did I mention that in addition to being positively scrumptious, this recipe is also healthy?  It’s low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and contains capsaicin, a compound found in chiles, which reduces inflammation, making it a natural pain reliever, and may fight cancer. 

So what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and put Unforgiven at the top of your Netflix queue, whip up a big batch of Spicy Pork Chili, and then chow down while watching this classic movie.  It’s sure to be a grand ole time. 

“Unforgiven” Spicy Pork Chili
Serves 6-8 people
Cooking time: 60 minutes

1/2 lb ground free range pork (can substitute ground turkey)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes, diced
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney bean, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons pimenton (smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

To cook the ground pork, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the pork, breaking it up as you cook it, and saute until cooked through.  Remove from the pain and drain on paper towels.

To make the chili, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Then, add the jalapeno peppers and saute until softened, about another 4 minutes.

Next, add the ground pork, the chili powder and the pimenton, and stir to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, oregano and bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 40 minutes, or until the chili has reduced slightly and begun to thicken.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a generous helping of chili in a bowl. Garnish with fresh sliced avocado, cilantro, chopped onion and/or grated sharp cheddar.  Enjoy!

Wine Pairing
I’m a wine aficionado, so typically, I prefer to pair wine with food, but in the case of this spicy pork chili, beer will actually pair best.  I’d suggest a Vienna lager, such as Negro Modelo or Dos Equis Amber.

About the Author
JENNIFER DAWN ROGERS … A graduate of Harvard University and a former film development executive, Jennifer cooks and writes in Los Angeles.  In 2009, she launched her blog Domestic Divas (www.domesticdivasblog.com), which focuses on local, organic cooking and wine reviews.  She is currently writing her first novel.

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