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Mexican-Style Chili

Source: Fine Cooking - Issue No. 29
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Active Time:  40 Minutes
Total Time:  2 Hours 40 Minutes
  Yields 5 cups; serves 4
I like to serve this stew-like chili with warm tortillas, chopped white onion, sprigs of cilantro, slices of avocado, and grated sharp cheeses. I recommend Cotija or even an aged Cheddar.
4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes, drained and seeded
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 lb. pork shoulder, trimmed of any fat
salt to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil; more as needed
Mexican-Style Chili Recipe at
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ancho and pasilla chiles and press them flat with a spatula. Toast the chiles, turning them over, until they’re fragrant and their color changes slightly, about 30 seconds. Remove the chiles from the skillet and put them in a bowl. Cover with about 4 cups of boiling water. Weight them with a plate to keep them submerged, if necessary, and soak until tender, about 30 min.

Toast the spices and oregano. Meanwhile, heat a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander and toast, giving the pan an occasional shake, until the seeds are fragrant, about 5 min. Grind the seeds in a spice grinder or crush them in a mortar and pestle. In the same hot pan, toast the fresh oregano (don’t toast dried oregano). Remove the leaves after they’ve begun to dry out but before they lose all of their green color, about 3 min. Set aside.

Reserve 1 cup of the liquid from the soaking chiles and then drain them. Put the chiles and the reserved liquid in a blender. Add the toasted, ground cumin and coriander, the toasted (or dried) oregano, the tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Purée until smooth.

Cut the pork into 1/2-inch cubes, pat it dry, and season it lightly with coarse salt.

In a large, heavy-based skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil until very hot. Brown the pork in the oil in batches (adding more oil to the pan as needed), being careful not to overload the skillet or the pork will stew in its own juices and not brown. Transfer the browned pork to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain off any excess fat from the skillet but leave a light coating on the bottom and don’t clean the skillet.

To the hot skillet, add the chile purée carefully; it will splatter while it sizzles. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the browned pork, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add a little water to the pan if the sauce seems too thick. Season with salt to taste and serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Fine Cooking Magazine. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Yields 5 cups; serves 4
Calories: 553
Fat. Total: 29g
Fiber: 8g
Carbohydrates, Total: 25g
Sodium: 481mg
% Cal. from Fat: 47%
Cholesterol: 152mg
Protein: 50g
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