Roxy Taco Chili-ful Chili: Pork or Veg

Last weekend, we chili-ed our faces off, starting at the Stanhope Locker's first chili cook-off with pulled pork chili (left), then at Wheatsfield's Member Appreciation Day with roasted butternut sguash black bean chili (right, it's vegan!), served with Cy Salt Oyster crackers. Both batches had the same base, starting with 4 oz of dried chilis—leave the seeds in if you like heat—covered in 4 cups of boiling water and soaked for 1/2 hour. You can find dried chilis in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store. We used New Mexico chiles, but poblano, ancho or hatch would also work great and be fairly mild for heat. Both styles were delicious. Serves 12, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

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INGREDIENTS
4 oz dried chilies: New Mexico, poblano, ancho or hatch
stemmed, seeded and torn to pieces
4 cups boiling water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white vinegar
5 peeled garlic cloves
1 tbsp Roxy Taco*
1/2 tbsp Cy Salt or to taste*
1 tbsp olive oil
28 oz whole peeled tomatoes
2 15 oz cans of your fave chili beans:
    For the squash we used black beans,
    pintos for the pork

For pork chili: 5 lbs boneless pork shoulder

For squash chili: 5 lbs butternut squash
(about 3 medium or 2 large) peeled, seeded and cubed

For both: Crop Duster spice, Grilla Gorilla, or GGX

INSTRUCTIONS
For pork chili:
 Sprinkle your pork shoulder with Crop Duster spice, Grilla Gorilla, or GGX, wrap in plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 24. Preheat the oven to 300. Brown the shoulder in olive oil in a big Dutch oven or oven-safe pot. Cook in the oven for about 4 hours--till it’s falling apart. Remove, let it cool, and chop it short. This was my mistake for the Stanhope chili: I left the strands of pork too long and ropey, like a pulled pork sandwich.

For squash chili: Preheat the oven to 425. Toss your squash with a splash of olive oil and sprinkle with Crop Duster spice, Grilla Gorilla, or GGX. Roast for about 45 minutes, tossing after about 30 minutes.

For the chili: Pour the boiling water over the chilies and soak for 30 minutes. Drain off half the soaking liquid and save. Place the chilies, honey, vinegar, garlic, Roxy and Cy in a food processor and blend till you have a smooth paste. 

Heat the oil on medium high in a big Dutch oven or heavy pot. Pour in the chile paste and stir for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pot. If your chili’s looking dry, add some of the bean liquid, chile soaking liquid, or some dark Mexican beer.

Stir the meat or squash into the chili and cook on low for 1 hour, or in a crockpot on low for 4 hours. Taste for seasoning.

*My squash chili took twice as much spice as the meat version.

Serve with Cy Salt oyster crackers: 1 tbsp Cy Salt + 1/4 cup olive oil. Bake at 250 for 5 minutes.