We Irish are all small little people. We wear greasy flat caps and are inclined to doff our forelocks to our betters. We are introverted and talk in such a thick accent that no civilised person can understand what we are saying. This leads to further introversion, perpetuating our inward looking approach to life.
The Texans, on the other hand, are all big people. They add to their grand stature by wearing snake-skin boots with Cuban heels and top off their suntanned heads with large multi-gallon hats. They speak in loud, booming voices and stride about in a powerful, overbearing fashion. We could not be any more different to each other.
One day last year, one of these big Texans, Mr. Richard McGary, reached out to me (as they say over there) and sent me a parcel of chilis with a few conditions. Since taking up the McGary Chilli Challenge, I have pretty well dived into this Tex Mex thing, having approached the original with a bit of trepidation.
Those chilis were sure to melt the ears off my baldy head. They would sear my throat and wrench my gut. Those Texans are a rough-hewn bunch and have brass-lined throats. Or so I thought at the time. The reality could not be further from the truth. Having taken the challenge, I have gone on to cook a number of chillis. Carne Adovada and Corn Tortillas, Beef Chilli with Corn Bread, and a few others un-posted but not un-enjoyed.
I thought it was worthwhile to give a straightforward Pork Chilli a go. Perhaps I am becoming a little bit Texan?
- 1 kilo (2 lb) pork pieces
- .5 kilo (1 lb) pork mince
- 5 onions
- 2 tins of kidney beans
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 good squeeze of tomato purée
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of anchote
- 1 dried Hatch chili
- 1 new New Mexico Sandia hot chili
- 1 new New Mexico Sandia medium chili
- 1 Pasilla Negro chili
- Salt and pepper
Next, dry-fry the cumin seeds.
Pour them into the mortar and bash them with the pestle.
Chop the onions.
Fry the onions off in a little oil in the bottom of a casserole dish. Spoon them out when soft. Then add the pork and brown it in batches. Brown the mince too.
Next the fun bit. Take the chilis out of the water.
Place the chilis into a blender and add some of the chili water.
Add more water until you have a lovely chili consistency. The spice got into the air and made us cough. Then add all the ingredients except the beans into the pot. Season with the salt and pepper.
Add a half litre of water or stock.
Then pop the lid on and place in a 200º C oven for an hour. Check it occasionally and add more water if needed. Add the kidney beans after 40 minutes. Take the chili out and serve it with corn bread and a nice topping of cheese.
The chili was really fantastic. The different chilis added different depth and breadth of flavours. One could even call it subtle, if you would only believe me. I really think I should go out and buy those Cuban heeled snake-skin boots. I could then doff my forelock in a more extrovert kind or a way. Being a bit more Texan could do us Irish a bit of good.