Sunday, October 10, 2010

An Excellent Butcher + Pork Shoulder = Pumpkin Pork Chili

I went to Price Chopper today because I still needed to use my coupons from the Price Chopper website before they expired. I also needed a 3 pound pork shoulder for a recipe I have been wanting to try. Well, wouldn't you know it? Only one pork shoulder on the shelf and it was 10lbs! Now usually I would take whatever was left, but an excess of 7lbs was just too much. I had almost decided to give up, but thought that I would ask at their meat counter to see if there might be a smaller cut hanging around somewhere. Their butcher asked me what size I needed and I told him 3lbs but if they didn't have a 3lb shoulder I would take whatever was closest. Do you know what he said? He told me that he would just cut a shoulder to 3lbs for me! I was in shock. In all the time I have shopped at Price Chopper, buying larger cuts of meat or smaller cuts of meat because it just came close to what I needed and I could have just asked the butcher to cut exactly what I needed? How had a I gone on so long without this knowledge? And even better, their amazing butcher didn't even seem bothered by the fact that I had asked him to do this. This new knowledge has reinforced my view that Price Chopper has amazing customer service - even at my tiny little store!

So, what was the recipe I was buying this coveted 3lb pork shoulder for? Pumpkin Pork Chili. Now before you say "Ick" or write this off, just hear me out. This recipe first came to be from Food Network Magazine, but like any recipe I use, I always have to tweak it to make it all my own. If I didn't believe that this recipe could be absolutely brilliant, I wouldn't even waste my time on it.

The changes I made to the recipe include making it a slow cooker recipe - seriously if I can make anything in my slow cooker then I'm going to make it in my slow cooker. I also added white and light red kidney beans because I don't believe that chili is chili unless beans are associated with it. Finally, I decided that Pumpkin chili wouldn't be right with Mexican beer, you have to use a seasonal beer for a seasonal chili. Try it and let me know what you think.

Pumpkin Pork Chili

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Sam Adams Octoberfest
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium white onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder, plus more for sprinkling
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 can white kidney beans
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • Lime wedges, for serving


In a pan, drizzled with a little vegetable oil, on the stove top brown the pork shoulder. Once the browning is complete, transfer to the slow cooker. Be sure to scrape the pan free of any drippings from the pork - this will give the chili more flavor.

To the shoulder already in the slow cooker add beer, 4 teaspoons salt, chipotles, oregano, tomatoes, poblano, onions, chili powder, all but 3 tablespoons pumpkin, white kidney beans, light red kidney beans and garlic.

Once you have everything in the crock pot, mix 3 tablespoons pumpkin, the sour cream and salt to taste in a bowl; cover and chill.

When the chili has only one hour left to cook, add the mustard greens. Season with salt. Ladle the chili into bowls; top with the pumpkin cream and more chili powder. Serve with lime wedges.

Try the recipe and let me know what you think!

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