Why It Works
- Pork shoulder melts and tenderizes in the slow cooker for optimal, juicy results.
- Using both dried and fresh peppers creates a much more complex flavor than bottled chili powder.
- A drier-than-normal cornbread batter cooks up into perfect dumplings in the moist heat of a slow cooker.
For a meal that's perfect for Football Sundays or chilly-evening dinners, make this chili right in your slow cooker. It's not your traditional beef-based recipe, but pulled pork shoulder and tender cornbread dumplings make this version stand out among the rest.
- For the Chili:
- 3 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless pork shoulder, cut into 8 large pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
- 2 dried New Mexico chilies, stemmed and seeded
- 1 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large Spanish onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 8 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle light beer, such as lager
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 (15-ounce) cans dark kidney beans, drained
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot, to taste
- For the Cornbread and Garnish:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Jalapeño slices, for garnish
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
For the Chili: Blot pork dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add pork and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn pork and brown opposite side. Transfer pork to slow cooker.
In a clean pot, add dried ancho and New Mexico chilies and toast over high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until chilies are softened and almost falling apart, about 15 minutes. Transfer to blender and add tomato paste, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Blend to a smooth paste. Scrape paste into slow cooker with pork.
Add onion, jalapeño, and garlic to slow cooker, arranging them on and around the pork. Pour crushed tomatoes on top.
In a medium bowl, whisk together beer and cornstarch. Pour into slow cooker. Gently stir in kidney beans. Cover and cook on low until pork is fall-apart tender, about 6 hours.
Remove pork from sauce and shred using 2 forks. Return pulled pork to slow cooker, stir well, and season with salt and pepper. Add hot sauce for additional heat, if desired.
For the Cornbread: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small pan, brown the butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add browned butter, light brown sugar, eggs, and milk. Mix until no dry streaks remain, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in cheddar cheese.
Spoon the batter gently onto the chili. Cover and increase heat to high. Cook until dumplings are fully cooked through, about 1 hour. Top with jalapeño slices and cilantro leaves and serve.
Slow cooker, blender