Friday, May 8, 2009

Chili Carnitas

Since San Antonio is the birthplace of chili (it's our state dish), and the Return of the Chili Queens Festival is at Market Square, May 23rd through the 25th, and I'm writing a chili cookbook, in addition to the fundraising Tex-Mex cookbook, and the Chili Cook-Off Challenge was sort of forgotten last month, I thought it would be fun to make a lot of chili recipes this month to honor the heritage of the Chili Queens.

During the 1880s, the Chili Queens would gather at dusk at Military Plaza to sell their bowls of chili. They made the chili at home, then loaded it onto colorful chili wagons, and transported the wagons and chili to the plaza. They built mesquite fires on the square to keep the chili warm, lit their wagons with colored lanterns, and served their chili. In those days, a big plate of chili and beans, with a tortilla on the side, cost a dime. A night in San Antonio was not considered complete without a visit to the chili queens.

I had some leftover pork from making Pork Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce for Second Sunday San Antonio, so I decided
to make Chili Carnitas.
  • 1-1/2 cups leftover seasoned, shredded pork for carnitas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, chopped
  • Various amounts, to taste, of chili powder, cumin, and Mexican oregano, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Toppings: Shredded pepper jack cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, and white corn tortilla chips.
Spray a deep, 12-inch chef's saute pan with nonstick cooking
spray. Heat over medium heat.

Add the pork, onions, jalapeno peppers, and chopped bacon. Season to taste with chili powder, cumin, and Mexican oregano. Saute until the onions are limp, the peppers are soft, and the
bacon is crisp.

Add the garlic and saute for one minute.

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and water. Stir to mix.

Season the sauce with the chili powder, cumin, and Mexican oregano, to taste. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce the
heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Top with the pepper jack cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and chopped cucumbers. Tuck the tortilla chips around the edges
of the bowl. (I know that a bowl doesn't have edges and I debated whether to say "tuck the tortilla chips around the sides of the bowl" but a bowl doesn't have sides either. I'm at a complete loss as to how to phrase this properly. Maybe my mind isn't working today. Any suggestions?)

This was a quick, easy, and very delicious chili. I'm sure the chili queens would be proud of me.

We're having a special Return of the Chili Queens Chili Cook-Off Challenge in May. If you'd like to participate, make an original chili recipe (which will be published in a new cookbook I'm writing), post it on your blog by the 20th, along with the badge and a link to the Chili Cook-Off Challenge, then send me an email at with the link to your post. The round-up will be posted on the 21st. Voting will determine the winner.

If you live in San Antonio and are planning to come to the Return of the Chili Queens Festival at Market Square, I'm doing a booksigning there on Saturday, May 23rd, 10:00 A.M. to Noon.

I'm also doing a booksigning tomorrow, May 9th, at Barnes & Noble from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. at The Shops at La Cantera, so if you get a chance, please stop by and say hi.

I'm sending this recipe over to Heather at GirliChef for her Chile Contest and Cookbook Giveaway. Cook something with chiles this month and you have a chance to win. One of the prizes is a copy of my new cookbook. Heather is also offering some dried chiles and I'm tossing in San Antonio chile pepper refrigerator magnets. Check out her post for all the details.


Reeni♥ said...

The Chile Queens are so cool! I love that you changed the name of the challenge. Your pork chile is a bowl full of yumminess. I'm going to be a chile queen this month!!!!!

Coleen's Recipes said...

Your recipes always look SO delicious (and make me hungry).

girlichef said...

mmmmmm...carnitas! This looks absolutely fabulous!

Chef E said...

This sounds so good...I went out for my taco fix this month, not as good as homemade, but a busy weekend ahead...I have a Texas food history book and loved the chapter on Chili Queens, and how they set up shop each day!

Time to make some chili! and homemade chorizo...

Donna-FFW said...

I am makingit a goal to join in the chili round up this month!! Your dish looks fantastic!